adjective vin·dic·tive \ vin-ˈdik-tiv \
|Updated on: 12 Jul 2018

Definition of vindictive

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





Examples of vindictive in a Sentence

  1. 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 PapineauNew York Times Book Review11 May 1997
  2. 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 BarnetNew York Times Book Review19 Mar. 1989
  3. 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 CrowellCrossroads of Continents1988
  4. 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 MailerThe Naked and the Dead1948
  5. 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
  6. 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 MaughamThe Moon and Sixpence1919
  7. be careful not to annoy the vindictive old woman who lives down the street

Recent Examples of vindictive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of vindictive

Latin vindicta revenge, vindication, from vindicare

VINDICTIVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of vindictive for English Language Learners

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

VINDICTIVE Defined for Kids


adjective vin·dic·tive \ vin-ˈdik-tiv \

Definition of vindictive for Students

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

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