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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of vandalism in a Sentence

acts of theft and vandalism He was arrested for vandalism.

Recent Examples on the Web

Suspects are still outstanding in several cases involving anti-Semitic vandalism. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hate crimes cataloged: Five years of malice and spite in San Diego County," 30 Aug. 2019 In six cases the perpetrators also conducted concurrent crimes, such as vandalism of property [or] shooting other non-game wildlife or game wildlife out of season. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "What kind of animal would shoot a whooping crane?," 29 Aug. 2019 The point of permanently guarding the grave is to protect it against vandalism by the same people who once adored him. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "With Kashmir’s autonomy gone, its pro-India political parties have lost all credibility," 27 Aug. 2019 This week the Department of Education is under investigation after a Black employee reported a case of vandalism in her work office. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "Vandalism Sparks Rumors Of Racial Motivation At Department Of Education," 26 Aug. 2019 Motagua have blamed members of the Ultra-Faithful Olimpia fan club for the rioting and vandalism., "Former Celtic Player Emilio Izaguirre Among 10 Injured as 3 Die in Honduras Derby Riots," 18 Aug. 2019 Other public figures, actors and singers like Tony Leung Ka-fai and Daniel Chan have spoken out against protester violence and vandalism. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Hong Kong protesters call for ‘Mulan’ boycott after star went public in support of police," 16 Aug. 2019 Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Chief Danielle Outlaw have promised a large turnout by police and have vowed to use the full force of the law against those who commit acts of violence and vandalism., "Portland protests: Multiple downtown businesses close as city prepares for showdown," 16 Aug. 2019 Tampering with, and vandalism to, emergency communications systems is negligent at best and downright dangerous at worst. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "Inside the Hidden World of Elevator Phone Phreaking," 9 Aug. 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.

See More

First Known Use of vandalism

1798, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vandalism

vandal + -ism

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vandalism

Dictionary Entries near vandalism








Statistics for vandalism

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vandalism

The first known use of vandalism was in 1798

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!