vit·​ri·​ol | \ ˈvi-trē-əl How to pronounce vitriol (audio) \

Definition of vitriol

1 : something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality especially : virulence of feeling or of speech
2a : a sulfate of any of various metals (such as copper, iron, or zinc) especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate

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Other Words from vitriol

vitriolic \ ˌvi-​trē-​ˈä-​lik How to pronounce vitriolic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of vitriol in a Sentence

His speech was full of political vitriol. a film critic noted for the vitriol and sometimes outright cruelty of his pronouncements
Recent Examples on the Web Even the most benign videos of a tech toy’s unboxing all too easily descends into vitriol, sexism and discriminatory outbursts. Ciku Kimeria, Quartz Africa, "YouTube music video comments are the safe space for the pan-African romantic in all of us," 24 Dec. 2019 Even after two and a half months of sparring, the complaints by Republicans reached new levels of vitriol. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Democrats Signal Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress Charges Against Trump," 9 Dec. 2019 Right now, there's a lot of vitriol in Washington there's a lot of reasons for it. CBS News, "Transcript: David Rubenstein on "Face the Nation", December 1, 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 Their public struggles with mental health earned them both a horrifying amount of vitriol. Self, "No, You Shouldn’t Call Someone ‘Crazy.’ But Do We Have to Ban the Word Entirely?," 27 Nov. 2019 However, the kind of vitriol that has come forth since announcing the change in the name of the parade has been truly disappointing and hurtful. Fox News, "West Virginia mayor restores city's 'Christmas Parade' after protests over name change," 11 Oct. 2019 But most of the vitriol was directed at the U.S. women’s celebrations. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US women aren't backing off at World Cup," 16 June 2019 As the campaign season heats up in January, vitriol is sure to focus on his diplomatic shortfalls. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Trump Is Running Out of Time for a Meaningful Diplomatic Deal—Anywhere," 2 Dec. 2019 For all the vitriol directed at Ms. Manigault Newman, White House officials noted Monday that they had already fired her and had no plans as of now to take further punitive action. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Trump Fires Back at ‘Vicious’ Omarosa Manigault Newman," 13 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vitriol.' 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 vitriol

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for vitriol

Middle English, from Anglo-French vitriole, from Medieval Latin vitriolum, alteration of Late Latin vitreolum, neuter of vitreolus glassy, from Latin vitreus vitreous

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Time Traveler for vitriol

Time Traveler

The first known use of vitriol was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vitriol

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vitriol.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for vitriol


How to pronounce vitriol (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vitriol

formal : harsh and angry words


vit·​ri·​ol | \ ˈvi-trē-əl How to pronounce vitriol (audio) \

Medical Definition of vitriol

1 : a sulfate of any of various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc)

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More from Merriam-Webster on vitriol

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vitriol

Spanish Central: Translation of vitriol Encyclopedia article about vitriol

Comments on vitriol

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


to insert between existing elements

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