van·​dal·​ism | \ˈvan-də-ˌli-zəm \

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

More than 100 people were arrested in Paris following violent May Day protests that saw at least six cars torched, a McDonald’s restaurant smashed up and widespread vandalism. Fox News, "Violent Paris May Day protests leaves cars torched, McDonald's smashed; more than 100 arrested," 2 Oct. 2018 Several have engaged in violence or encouraged acts of public vandalism. Javid Ahmad, WSJ, "The Mafia That Threatens Afghanistan," 19 Sep. 2018 The normalisation of far-right politics is already leading to chaos and vandalism on our streets. Constance Grady, Vox, "Being a librarian used to be considered too dangerous a profession for women," 11 Aug. 2018 To knock it down would have been an act of brutal vandalism. Chris Jones,, "Why restore the Uptown Theatre at all? It's savvy, and plus there's a better reason," 5 July 2018 Previous vandalism has centered around gun laws, the military and Trump's language. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "'#AbolishICE,' urges vandalized Louisville billboard amid protests," 4 July 2018 The report highlighted about a dozen incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in Maryland where suspects painted swastikas on homes, schools, or businesses and handed out anti-Jewish flyers. Catherine Rentz,, "Maryland delegate says driver yelled 'Heil Hitler' at her while campaigning," 21 June 2018 The sheriff's office posted photos of the trail vandalism on Facebook with the hope that someone might have information that might help crack the case. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sheriff's office urges vandal to #stayinschool after finding misspelled graffiti on a Grafton bike bridge," 15 June 2018 That makes Britannica immune from the sort of digital vandalism that has caused a series of headaches for Google recently. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Encyclopædia Britannica Wants to Fix False Google Results," 7 June 2018

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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Statistics for vandalism

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vandalism

The first known use of vandalism was in 1798

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More Definitions for vandalism



English Language Learners Definition of vandalism

: the act of deliberately destroying or damaging property


van·​dal·​ism | \ˈvan-də-ˌli-zəm \

Kids Definition of vandalism

: intentional destruction of or damage to property


van·​dal·​ism | \ˈvand-ᵊl-ˌi-zəm \

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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to enclose within walls

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