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

Prosecutors said the landlords paid men to forcibly remove tenants from their homes, including through vandalism, flooding and harassment. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Prosecutors Probe Hoteliers Paid by New York City to House Homeless," 18 Jan. 2019 To prevent the possibility of vandalism, the exact areas covered and the locations of the sensors are both proprietary—even the NYPD doesn't know. Dan Rosenbaum, Ars Technica, "All hail the AI overlord: Smart cities and the AI Internet of Things," 7 Dec. 2018 Early complaints about vandalism, blocked sidewalks, and scofflaw riders — while still valid — have since given way to a realization that, hey, these things are kind of fun! Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Bird’s electric scooters are getting more rugged to handle heavy use," 24 Sep. 2018 The officers were guided to the scene with the aid of a helicopter unit for a standard vandalism call, according to the Associated Press. Time, "‘Nothing Sacramento Has Ever Seen.’ Activists Describe Fear and Anger Ahead of Stephon Clark’s Funeral," 29 Mar. 2018 More vandalism cases were discovered in Lincoln County, leading to additional charges for the trio. Wbtv, charlotteobserver, "3 students charged in spray painting '666', swastikas on church property | Charlotte Observer," 28 Mar. 2018 The letter on Tarkon’s windshield follows a spree of vandalism targeting Boise minorities. Michael Lycklama, idahostatesman, "Racist letter sent to Idaho Juniors youth soccer coach | Idaho Statesman," 25 Jan. 2018 The same map data made its way to the real estate application Zillow: OpenStreetMap has frequently had to deal with data vandalism, rolling back malicious changes to map data by trolls. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Data vandal changes name of New York City to “Jewtropolis” across multiple apps [Updated]," 30 Aug. 2018 The site has also experienced issues with vandalism, according to Brian Biernat, director of economic development, inspections, and zoning for the city of Cudahy. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former tannery in Cudahy, vacant for 14 years, to become mini-storage warehouses," 15 May 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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Dictionary Entries near vandalism








Statistics for vandalism

Last Updated

13 May 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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