vin·​dic·​tive vin-ˈdik-tiv How to pronounce vindictive (audio)
: disposed to seek revenge : vengeful
: intended for or involving revenge
: intended to cause anguish or hurt : spiteful
vindictively adverb
vindictiveness noun

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
Recent Examples on the Web Alison DiLaurentis is vindictive, selfish, cunning, and presumably dead., 9 May 2024 The Kansas City Comets are dancing into the MASL’s Eastern Conference Finals after completing a vindictive two-game sweep of Utica City FC on Monday night in upstate New York. Nathan Dunn, Kansas City Star, 16 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for vindictive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vindictive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin vindicta revenge, vindication, from vindicare

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near vindictive

Cite this Entry

“Vindictive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


vin·​dic·​tive vin-ˈdik-tiv How to pronounce vindictive (audio)
: likely to seek revenge
a vindictive person
: intended to cause pain or anguish : spiteful
vindictive remarks
vindictively adverb
vindictiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on vindictive

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