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


revengeful, vengeful

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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

Even by the dismal standards of the trade, Bangladesh’s politicians are a brutal, vindictive bunch. The Economist, "How BRAC, the world’s biggest charity, made Bangladesh richer," 5 Sep. 2019 Rather there’s an excess of it to feed the numerous ears that have been unleashed ‘for security reasons.’ Mugabe who was known for being a vindictive character by political opponents probably never forgave Marechera for the embarrassment. Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Quartz Africa, "The Zimbabwean writer who was Robert Mugabe’s nemesis," 7 Sep. 2019 Don't send your photo to someone who may be vindictive or may want to seek revenge on you in the future. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "What You Should Know Before Sending Nudes," 22 Aug. 2019 Sciorra was one of the career victims of Harvey Weinstein’s predatory, vindictive influence in the insidious prime of that mogul’s reign. Michael Phillips,, "‘The Kitchen’ review: Married to the mob. Husbands behind bars. Women rule. Corpses pile up.," 7 Aug. 2019 That happened the other day when Circuit Judge Charles Dodson struck down vindictive and unprecedented penalties designed purely to punish local officials who dare to question the state’s vise-like grip on all local gun regulations. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board,, "A judge provides much-needed sanity on Florida gun laws | Editorial," 30 July 2019 More than that: that the responsible, sober one was actually reckless, vindictive, manipulative, and untrustworthy even with those who knew him best. Longreads, "The Top 5 Longreads of the Week," 27 June 2019 The vindictive psychology of some men is beyond such analysis, but the expectations widely imposed on women, and how non-conformists are treated, can be probed, and maybe even changed. The Economist, "How to change a word’s meaning," 22 June 2019 And one that becomes gradually more self-aware as the film progresses. Voiced by Mark Hamill, the character transforms from blank slate into a vindictive Chucky audiences haven't seen before. Jen Yamato,, "How the ‘Child’s Play’ remake redesigned Chucky, a smart doll with a killer glitch," 21 June 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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Statistics for vindictive

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for vindictive

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

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More Definitions for vindictive



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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