vin·​dic·​tive | \ vin-ˈdik-tiv How to pronounce vindictive (audio) \

Definition of vindictive

1a : disposed to seek revenge : vengeful
b : intended for or involving revenge
2 : intended to cause anguish or hurt : spiteful

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Other Words from vindictive

vindictively adverb
vindictiveness noun

Synonyms for vindictive


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Examples of vindictive in a Sentence

Well, maybe actually waging vendettas is a bad idea, but to be known for your vindictiveness can be a great advantage, for then people will take care not to cross you. And maybe the surest way of acquiring a reputation for vindictiveness is actually to be vindictive. — David Papineau, New York Times Book Review, 11 May 1997 And though his [John Simon's] caustic wit can sometimes sound more personally vindictive than objectively critical, it allows him to plow through a lot of literary pretentiousness. — Andrea Barnet, New York Times Book Review, 19 Mar. 1989 The bear, seen in many aspects as humanlike, was subject to ambivalent attitudes: mainly, he was seen as a stand-in for benevolent supernaturals, but sometimes also as a dangerous and at times a vindictive and harmful one. — William W. Fitzhugh & Aron Crowell, Crossroads of Continents, 1988 A machine gun lashed at him from across the river.  … In the darkness, it spat a vindictive white light like an acetylene torch, and its sound was terrifying. — Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead, 1948 In observing so long a silence I have been influenced much more by a vindictive purpose,—a purpose to punish you for your suspicion that I could possibly feel myself hurt or offended by any critical suggestion of yours … — William Cowper 26 Feb. 1791, in William Cowper's Letters, Edward Verrall Lucas, editor1924 It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive. — W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 be careful not to annoy the vindictive old woman who lives down the street
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Recent Examples on the Web While most Republicans rejected impeachment as unnecessary, vindictive or rushed, 10 of them broke with their colleagues. Jon Greenberg, Detroit Free Press, "Fact-checking the House impeachment debate on Trump, Capitol riot," 14 Jan. 2021 There seemed to be not just a sad acknowledgment of the limitations of African Americans in the church, but sort of a vindictive quality to him. The Salt Lake Tribune, "What you may not know about Mormon historian Richard Bushman — for one, he was agnostic when he went on his mission," 31 Dec. 2020 Caldwell called Anstey a vindictive monomaniac targeting him under the guise of stamping out corruption. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "The American pirate who kicked off one of Hong Kong's earliest major political scandals," 22 Dec. 2020 Haywood argues that the judge has been vindictive, at one point adding a year to a man’s sentence because a public defender objected to the way the case was handled. Washington Post, "Arlington’s top prosecutor, defender clash with judge," 13 Nov. 2020 Yet Trump’s acerbic brand of politics — his Twitter taunts, his vindictive drive to punish enemies, his go-it-alone approach to the world — made its mark across the far reaches of the government and beyond. Jill Colvin And Zeke Miller,, "Donald Trump’s rise defied gravity. What comes after his apparent fall?," 7 Nov. 2020 Democrats are unlikely to be as vindictive toward Mexico as the Trump administration once appeared to be, with its focus on building a border wall and threats of punishing tariffs. Mark Stevenson And DÉbora Álvares, Star Tribune, "Mexico, Brazil leaders silent as world congratulates Biden," 8 Nov. 2020 Dave Erlichman, an attorney representing defendant Amy Kaper, filed a court document on Monday saying his defense of his client will be that the case is selective and vindictive, and unconstitutional use of the gang-assistance statute. Uriel J. Garcia, The Arizona Republic, "Protesters' indictments on gang-related charges criticized by attorneys, advocates," 3 Nov. 2020 In California, which has tried to lead by example on climate, the Trump administration has been positively vindictive, revoking the state’s ability to reduce tailpipe emissions and removing protections for salmon and smelt. Steve Lopez Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The pandemic and the economy top voter concerns, but there’s a bigger issue," 31 Oct. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vindictive

Latin vindicta revenge, vindication, from vindicare

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Time Traveler for vindictive

Time Traveler

The first known use of vindictive was in the 15th century

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Statistics for vindictive

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vindictive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for vindictive


How to pronounce vindictive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vindictive

disapproving : having or showing a desire to hurt someone who has hurt or caused problems for you


vin·​dic·​tive | \ vin-ˈdik-tiv How to pronounce vindictive (audio) \

Kids Definition of vindictive

1 : likely to seek revenge a vindictive person
2 : meant to be harmful vindictive remarks

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Comments on vindictive

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