vit·​ri·​ol | \ ˈvi-trē-əl \

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 \ 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

While Ford is the one actually under the attack of credible death threats and violent vitriol, Kavanaugh is the person with all the protections of the government. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Death Threats and Discrediting: The Treatment of Christine Blasey Ford Is a Reminder of What's at Stake for Sexual Assault Survivors," 21 Sep. 2018 Hundreds of people swarmed the shop’s phone lines, Facebook , Yelp and Google pages with vitriol and threats. Andy Ngo, WSJ, "An Online Mob’s Faulty Transmission," 23 July 2018 That shouldn't create an instant wave of fan vitriol and demands for the next guy to come in the game. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Shea Patterson is one guy; Michigan football needs more than that," 2 May 2018 Cut to Fox News and the familiar blind vitriol and incessant shouting. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "Second City E.T.C.’s Gaslight District examines the perils of living in the age of alternative facts," 11 Apr. 2018 Much of the campaign’s vitriol was fueled by Rokita, who embraced Trump's brash rhetorical style and often used derogatory nicknames to refer to his opponents. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Senate race: Mike Braun wins GOP primary in huge upset over 2 sitting congressmen," 8 May 2018 Lauren Ingram is an Australian journalist who wound up on the receiving end of a lot of that vitriol. Jessica Roy,, "She's not Laura Ingraham. But she's gotten thousands of angry tweets meant for the Fox News host," 6 Apr. 2018 The movie had started early screenings and was getting picked up by festivals, and although the pushback had been building since the release of the trailer the previous year, the film’s release prompted swathes of online vitriol. Alim Kheraj, GQ, "Nakhane Is No Longer Living in Fear," 21 Mar. 2018 There’s no better proof of the impact of gun-control activism than the unrestrained vitriol directed against the students from Stoneman Douglas High School, who are now the most vocal public voices in the debate. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Smearing Parkland Students Is a Symptom of the Right’s Ideological Exhaustion," 28 Mar. 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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Statistics for vitriol

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for vitriol

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

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More Definitions for vitriol



English Language Learners Definition of vitriol

formal : harsh and angry words


vit·​ri·​ol | \ ˈvi-trē-əl \

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

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