ven·​det·​ta | \ven-ˈde-tə \

Definition of vendetta 

2 : an often prolonged series of retaliatory, vengeful, or hostile acts or exchange of such acts waged a personal vendetta against those who opposed his nomination

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Did You Know?

Vendetta has been getting even in English since the mid-19th century. English speakers borrowed vendetta, spelling and all, from Italian, in which it means "revenge." It ultimately traces to the Latin verb vindicare, which means "to lay claim to" or "to avenge." That Latin word is also in the family tree of many other English terms related to getting even, including avenge, revenge, vengeance, vindicate, and vindictive.

Examples of vendetta in a Sentence

He waged a personal vendetta against his rivals in the Senate.

Recent Examples on the Web

President Donald Trump continues to argue that the FBI went easy on Mrs. Clinton while pursuing a vendetta against his campaign and embedding spies within it. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Watchdog Report on Justice Department’s Clinton Probe to Be Released June 14," 7 June 2018 Leaders assume responsibility for pivotal decisions, transcend personal vendettas, try all paths to compromise. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "How to Find a Good Leader," 1 Nov. 2018 The Black Hood has some weird vendetta against her, forcing her to relinquish her starring role of Carrie in the school musical. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything That Happened On "Riverdale" Season 2," 8 Oct. 2018 Rather, the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) will corrupt the FBI special agent, and will manipulate him into aiding him in his vendetta against Daredevil. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Bullseye joins Netflix’s Daredevil for season 3," 6 Oct. 2018 The decision now rests in Judge Brinkley’s hands, who has been accused of having a personal vendetta against the rapper. Ashley Velez, The Root, "Philly Rallies Behind Meek Mill As Rapper Awaits Judge’s Decision On Possible Retrial," 18 June 2018 But the broader slowdown may stem less from intentional vendettas, according to legislators, and more from the fact that lawmakers in different parties simply lack the friendly relationships that can lubricate work between members of the same party. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, "Paralyzed by partisanship and the budget crisis, this Alaska Legislature has passed fewer bills than any on record," 8 Apr. 2018 The court papers Ramos wrote, other records and interviews suggest an intelligent but isolated man who was willing to pursue a vendetta for years. Anchorage Daily News, "Maryland newspaper shooting suspect’s anger flared, and fell silent. Then it exploded, police say," 8 July 2018 Hiaasen and four of his colleagues at the Capital Gazette were killed Thursday when, police say, a man with a vendetta against the Annapolis news outlet fired a shotgun through the newsroom’s glass doors and at the staffers working there. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, "In a lifetime of words, Rob Hiaasen wrote for his children in journals and for his community in newspapers," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vendetta.' 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 vendetta

1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vendetta

borrowed from Italian, "retribution, revenge, blood feud," going back to Latin vindicta — more at vindictive

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vending machine

Statistics for vendetta

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for vendetta

The first known use of vendetta was in 1855

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English Language Learners Definition of vendetta

: a very long and violent fight between two families or groups

: a series of acts done by someone over a long period of time to cause harm to a disliked person or group

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More from Merriam-Webster on vendetta

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vendetta

Spanish Central: Translation of vendetta

Nglish: Translation of vendetta for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about vendetta

Comments on vendetta

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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