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

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 This is a big boost to the ride-sharing electric-scooter sector that has seen sizeable investor interest despite questions about profitability and vandalism. Marc Vartabedian, WSJ, "Scooter Startup Lime Is Raising $400 Million at $2 Billion Valuation," 31 Jan. 2019 Residents throughout Manchester and the region also have been frustrated by car burglaries and vandalism. Jesse Leavenworth, Courant Community, "Manchester Residents Rail Against Proposed Curfew," 10 July 2018 Without funds to preserve the crumbling rock walls of the compound, Parks and Wildlife buried the ruins in sand to prevent further erosion and vandalism. Joe Holley, Houston Chronicle, "The remarkable Ana Maria Calvillo: She could ride, shoot, ranch and live in peace with the Indians," 29 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.

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

15 Apr 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).


an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
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!