adjective vin·dic·tive \vin-ˈdik-tiv\

Definition of vindictive

  1. 1a :  disposed to seek revenge :  vengefulb :  intended for or involving revenge

  2. 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 Papineau, New York Times Book Review, 11 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 Barnet, New York Times Book Review, 19 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 Crowell, Crossroads of Continents, 1988

  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 Mailer, The Naked and the Dead, 1948

  5. 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

  6. 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, editor, 1924

  7. be careful not to annoy the vindictive old woman who lives down the street

Origin and Etymology of vindictive

Latin vindicta revenge, vindication, from vindicare

First Known Use: 15th century

VINDICTIVE Defined for English Language Learners


adjective vin·dic·tive \vin-ˈdik-tiv\

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. 1 :  likely to seek revenge a vindictive person

  2. 2 :  meant to be harmful vindictive remarks

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up vindictive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


contemplative of or relative to the past

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