van·​dal·​ism | \ ˈvan-də-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce vandalism (audio) \

Definition of vandalism

: willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property

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Examples of vandalism in a Sentence

acts of theft and vandalism He was arrested for vandalism.
Recent Examples on the Web Wheeler also condemned violence and vandalism that has marred mostly peaceful protests. Fox News, "Portland protesters stage sit-in at mayor's home -- after he and Trump trade barbs," 29 Aug. 2020 Rittenhouse's court hearing will come after Kenosha saw a calmer night on Thursday, with volunteers cleaning up after nights of arson and vandalism and a prayer service held along Lake Michigan. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Kenosha shooting, DC protest: Kyle Rittenhouse to appear in court as thousands descend on Washington," 28 Aug. 2020 The violence and vandalism that have marked the protests, often done by white people, have divided the Black community, along with a debate over what's next. Gillian Flaccus, Star Tribune, "Black Portland reflects on role of white allies in movement," 16 Aug. 2020 But a resurgence of violence and vandalism as the protests drag into their third month has left her and some other residents weary and frustrated. Washington Post, "Protests erupt in violence in Richmond, where residents say the ongoing turmoil has eroded their support for demonstrations," 12 Aug. 2020 Several members of the Trump administration have sought to blame violence and vandalism during nationwide racial justice protests on Democrats. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, ""Umbrella Man" caught in viral video smashing windows during Minneapolis protest is a white supremacist, police say," 29 July 2020 Some of the protests have devolved into riots featuring looting, arson, and vandalism. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "'This is not Seattle': Oklahoma protesters hit with terrorism charges," 28 June 2020 Wesley Somers, 25, was arrested on charges of felony arson, vandalism and disorderly conduct, and was to be booked, the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted. NBC News, "NYC Mayor de Blasio's daughter arrested during Saturday night protests," 2 June 2020 Civil unrest has erupted across the country since the death of George Floyd in May, leading to violence, looting, and vandalism that have accompanied demonstrations. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Don Lemon: Trump could possibly cause a 'civil war'," 1 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vandalism.' 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 vandalism

1798, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vandalism

vandal + -ism

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Time Traveler for vandalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of vandalism was in 1798

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Statistics for vandalism

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vandalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for vandalism


How to pronounce vandalism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vandalism

: the act of deliberately destroying or damaging property


van·​dal·​ism | \ ˈvan-də-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce vandalism (audio) \

Kids Definition of vandalism

: intentional destruction of or damage to property


van·​dal·​ism | \ ˈvand-ᵊl-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce vandalism (audio) \

Legal Definition of vandalism

: the willful or malicious destruction or defacement of property insurance covering property damage from vandalism and malicious mischief

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