vandal

noun

van·​dal ˈvan-dᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio)
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
vandal adjective often capitalized
Vandalic 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 on the Web The vandals completely ripped out the plastic piping supplying water to one gardening bed, while either ripping or cutting up piping in multiple other beds. Jakob Rodgers, The Mercury News, 18 June 2024 The vandal allegedly chucked an unidentified object at the sign posted outside Muhammad Mosque 7C located on Pennsylvania Ave. near Glenmore Ave. Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News, 7 June 2024 Scavengers and vandals turned the site into a symbol of urban ruin and the decline of Detroit. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, 4 June 2024 The vandal will have to pay for the necessary restoration work to remove the graffiti from the ancient wall, according to Italian authorities. Francesca Aton, ARTnews.com, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for vandal 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vandal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of vandal was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near vandal

Cite this Entry

“Vandal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vandal. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

vandal

noun
van·​dal ˈvan-dᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio)
1
capitalized : a member of a Germanic people overrunning Gaul, Spain, and northern Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries a.d.
2
: a person who destroys or damages property on purpose
Etymology

from Latin Vandalii (plural) "The Vandals"; of Germanic origin

Word Origin
The Vandals were a Germanic people who originally lived in northern Europe. In the fourth and fifth centuries, however, other barbarian peoples, especially the Huns, forced the Vandals to migrate westward and southward through what are now the lands of France and Spain. They finally settled in northern Africa. But as they migrated, the Vandals did not just pass through an area. They destroyed many cities and towns. They probably were no worse than other barbarians, but they became widely known for destruction. This probably happened because they invaded and looted the city of Rome in 455. They destroyed or ruined much of what they could not take with them. The Vandals were later defeated by the Roman army but their bad reputation caused their name to be used for "a deliberately destructive person."

Legal Definition

vandal

noun
van·​dal ˈvand-ᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio)
: a person who willfully destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public
Etymology

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

More from Merriam-Webster on vandal

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