ven·​det·​ta | \ ven-ˈde-tə How to pronounce vendetta (audio) \

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 The story plays out in sunny Los Angeles, where Joe escapes to outrun the vendetta of his ex-girlfriend Candace (Ambyr Childers). Ineye Komonibo,, "You Is Impossible To Watch Without Joe’s Stalker-y Voiceovers," 9 Jan. 2020 Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures (Netflix) A Qing-dynasty princess contends with palace intrigue and a vendetta against her family while navigating romance. Nina Zafar, Washington Post, "What to watch on Tuesday: New Year’s Eve celebrations on NBC, Fox and ABC," 31 Dec. 2019 Police officers who were supposed to investigate gangs and school shootings would be diverted to help their chief with petty vendettas and mundane tasks, like spying on his girlfriends or driving him to the airport, former officers testified. New York Times, "Scandal Began With Sex Toys. Now Ex-D.A. Is Convicted on Long Island.," 17 Dec. 2019 Richards and his supporters said the decision to revoke the permits so quickly shows that the building department has a personal vendetta against him. J.k. Dineen,, "Gentrification watchdog accused of violations in multimillion dollar SF home flip," 5 Dec. 2019 As might be imagined, this blatant betrayal of trust sets off a wildfire of vendetta. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Blanco en blanco': Film Review," 30 Sep. 2019 McKinsey says Mr Alix is engaged in a vendetta that aims to stifle competition. The Economist, "Schumpeter Rethinking McKinsey," 21 Nov. 2019 Others, speaking to a committed Republican base, are describing the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as an unhinged vendetta against President Trump and an unconstitutional effort to reverse the results of the 2016 Election. Lissandra Villa, Time, "Lawmakers Hone Their Messaging on Impeachment," 10 Oct. 2019 His goal was to promote Yanukovych as a liberal, pro-Western politician and whitewash his attack on political rival Yulia Tymoshenko, who was imprisoned in 2011 following a trial widely seen as Yanukovych’s personal vendetta. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ukraine entangled yet again in American political storm," 25 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for vendetta

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The first known use of vendetta was in 1855

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vendetta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for vendetta


How to pronounce vendetta (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vendetta

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vendetta

Spanish Central: Translation of vendetta

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

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