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 Others, like Bruno Walter, were baffled by her vindictive nature. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, "It Had to Be Her," 7 Jan. 2020 Pelosi, for her part, realized the electoral harm that had been wrought by a rabid, vindictive coterie of progressives in her party. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Do They Mean It This Time?," 30 Sep. 2019 But My Favorite Murder didn’t develop these vindictive tendencies in a vacuum. Andrea Denhoed, The New Republic, "The My Favorite Murder Problem," 22 Nov. 2019 But an attorney for Unsworth portrayed Musk as vain and vindictive. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Musk takes the stand in first day of “pedo guy” trial," 3 Dec. 2019 The gods took no interest in humans and were neither vindictive nor demanding. The Economist, "The key to a good life is avoiding pain," 26 Sep. 2019 The Rooneys are from Liverpool, a city that has boycotted The Sun for more than 30 years, because of its inaccurate and vindictive coverage of the Hillsborough soccer stadium disaster in which 96 Liverpudlians died. Hasit Shah, Quartz, "One of the UK’s warring WAGs is investigating her own Instagram account," 10 Oct. 2019 In the absence of these character- and self-forming influences, atomized individuals are seeking solace, consolation, and power — occasionally vindictive power — in the most abstract form of political identity groups. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Sympathy for Identity Politics?," 29 Sep. 2019 No, Trump is driven by vindictive mean-spirited attacks on regulations introduced by a dark-skinned man who had the audacity to become president. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Trump is gutting the work of Obama, a black man who dared be president," 13 Sep. 2019

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

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vindictive.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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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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