Definition of vandal
1 capitalized : a member of a Germanic people who lived in the area south of the Baltic Sea between the Vistula and the Oder rivers, overran Gaul, Spain, and northern Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries a.d., and in 455 sacked Rome
2 : one who willfully or ignorantly destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public
vandaladjective, often capitalized
Vandalicplay \van-ˈda-lik\ adjective
Examples of vandal in a Sentence
Vandals defaced the school's walls.
a group of vandals broke into the school and painted graffiti on the walls
Recent Examples of vandal from the Web
The committee accused Landrieu of not being more vocal about the vandalism of monuments, saying his silence on the issue encourages vandals seeking to deface the statues.
Two months earlier, a Black Lives Matter homecoming float created by a Boise State University student group was damaged by vandals.
Just days before the launch a portion of the railway was damaged by vandals, downing exterior fencing and knocking off posts.
The famous tribute to Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen has been a target for vandals for decades.
After midnight, vandals attacked all four of Milgrom’s businesses.
Wannabes came into the sport as rebels, pranksters, vandals, and thieves, wearing Nazi imagery — helmets and iron crosses.
The school's front door remains open to new vandals or urban explorers like Michael Kinsch, of Chicago.
Internet search tool company RealNames has become the latest site to be cracked by Internet vandals — only this time tens of thousands of customer credit cards and passwords may have been stolen.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vandal'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of vandal
borrowed from Late Latin Vandalī (plural) (Latin Vindilī, Vandiliī), probably borrowed from Germanic *wand-il-, noun derivative from a verbal base *wend- “wind, wrap, turn, move” (whence Old English windan to twist, move with speed or force”), as in *auza-wandil-, perhaps, “dawn-wanderer,” name of a star and mythological figure (whence Old Norse Aurvandill, Old English ēarendel) — more at 4wind
First Known Use: 1530
VANDAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vandal for English Language Learners
: a person who deliberately destroys or damages property : a person who vandalizes something
VANDAL Defined for Kids
Definition of vandal for Students
: a person who destroys or damages property on purpose
History for vandal
When the Roman Empire ended there was a great movement of peoples in and around Europe. Tribes that we call “Germanic” settled in many areas; some, as the Angles, Saxons, Franks, and Bavarians, became ancestors of the people of modern England, France, and Germany. Another such tribe was the Vandals, who swept through Europe, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, and seized the Roman province of Africa in the year 429, finally disappearing from history in the 500s and 600s. Though the Vandals were no worse than other tribes in a violent age, they became the model of the destructive barbarian, and their name became attached to anyone who willfully defaces public property.
Legal Definition of vandal
: a person who willfully destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public
Origin and Etymology of vandal
Vandal, member of a Germanic tribe who sacked Rome in A.D. 455
Seen and Heard
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