van·​dal | \ ˈvan-dᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio) \

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

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Other Words from vandal

vandal adjective, often capitalized
Vandalic \ van-​ˈda-​lik How to pronounce Vandalic (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for vandal


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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 on the Web In 2015, one vandal destroyed it by yanking it apart with a chain pulled by a truck. Michael Armstrong, Anchorage Daily News, "Homer’s annual Burning Basket event, not open to public during pandemic, will be streamed online," 10 Sep. 2020 The vandal was captured on video surveillance and faces burglary and criminal damage charges. Brooke Newman, The Arizona Republic, "Police: Man broke into Scottsdale Stadium, vandalized players' area," 28 Aug. 2020 That evidence, coupled with several incriminating minutes of security footage, led police to identify the vandal as a 50-year-old Austrian man who had stopped by the museum with a tour group as part of a birthday celebration trip. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Pursuit of the Perfect Photo, Tourist Accidentally Breaks Sculpture’s Toes," 5 Aug. 2020 First, a vandal or vandals threw and spread blood-red color on the statue of a Confederate soldier Tuesday night. Lee Roop |, al, "Madison County’s paint-splattered Confederate statue has no defenders Wednesday," 6 Aug. 2020 Carlson, who has never served in the military, called this veteran, who lost both of her legs fighting in the Iraq War, a fraud, a vandal and — maybe most remarkably — a coward. Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, "Tucker Carlson’s attacks on Sen. Tammy Duckworth are as disgusting as they are predictable," 8 July 2020 In the comments, followers called for violence against the vandal. oregonlive, "Inside the Facebook outburst that toppled one of Portland’s most successful chefs," 28 June 2020 Walkers and joggers passing by the artists redoing their work again and again have consistently told them the vandal can’t be one of their Bernal Heights neighbors. Heather Knight,, "Not everyone in SF is woke: ‘Black Lives Matter’ message on Bernal Heights’ rock keeps getting covered up," 8 June 2020 Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson ordered the curfews Saturday after peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent, and vandals trashed stores and the Justice Center. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Attorney seeks injunction to end Cleveland’s curfews and “imposition of martial law” due to Saturday’s George Floyd protests," 4 June 2020

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.

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First Known Use of vandal

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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 wind entry 3

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Time Traveler for vandal

Time Traveler

The first known use of vandal was in 1530

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Statistics for vandal

Last Updated

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vandal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for vandal


How to pronounce vandal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vandal

: a person who deliberately destroys or damages property : a person who vandalizes something


van·​dal | \ ˈvan-dəl How to pronounce vandal (audio) \

Kids Definition of vandal

: a person who destroys or damages property on purpose


van·​dal | \ ˈvand-ᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio) \

Legal Definition of vandal

: a person who willfully destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public

History and Etymology for vandal

Vandal, member of a Germanic tribe who sacked Rome in A.D. 455

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