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

Less than five hours after the vandalism on Thursday night — after the police and the media and even Sullivan had left for home — the BookBar owner got a call. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "A vandal disrupted a drag queen book reading for kids at a Denver bookstore. A community rallied in response.," 28 June 2019 Mayor Erin Stewart shared a photo of the vandalism on Thursday night, appearing to show spray paint along the structure and at least one of the gold emblems from the monument on the ground. Zach Murdock,, "Borinqueneers Monument vandalized in New Britain, GoFundMe created to make repairs," 7 June 2019 As a result, city officials were reluctant to call the paint job vandalism. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Look What Star Trek Fans Accidentally Did to This M41 Walker Bulldog Tank," 23 May 2019 The vandalism of a statue at a Roman Catholic church in Brooklyn last week was a hate crime, New York Police Department officials said Monday. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Vandalism of Roman Catholic Church’s Statue Called Hate Crime," 25 Feb. 2019 Mapbox also lists Vice, Vox (our sibling site), and the FCC as groups that have made use of its maps, however, the vandalism didn’t show up on those sites. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A conservative Facebook would probably fail — but Facebook should worry about it anyway," 31 Aug. 2018 According to Rees, vandalism and theft are notably low for the Hartford rollout, befalling about 1 percent of all bikes. Nina Cochran, Courant Community, "LimeBikes Have Been In Hartford For One Week; Here's What Some Riders And Observers Think So Far," 13 June 2018 The vandalism was also a big deal, Shultz said, because the community had recently made so much progress with its EMS response system. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "McCarthy’s only ambulance was vandalized. So a Wisconsin tourist bought the town a new one.," 26 May 2018 After ruling out operator and track issues and possible vandalism, the agency is zeroing in on the car itself, which is 50 years old. Diamond Naga Siu,, "Red Line and Commuter Rail try getting back to regular service," 18 June 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near vandalism








Statistics for vandalism

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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 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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Comments on vandalism

What made you want to look up vandalism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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