vi·​tu·​per·​ate vī-ˈtü-pə-ˌrāt How to pronounce vituperate (audio)
vituperated; vituperating

transitive verb

: to abuse or censure severely or abusively : berate

intransitive verb

: to use harsh condemnatory language
vituperator noun

Did you know?

Vituperate has several close synonyms, including berate and revile. Berate usually refers to scolding that is drawn out and abusive. Revile means to attack or criticize in a way prompted by anger or hatred. Vituperate can be used as a transitive or intransitive verb and adds to the meaning of revile by stressing an attack that is particularly harsh or unrelenting. It first appeared in English in the mid-16th century and can be traced back to two Latin words: the noun vitium, meaning "fault," and the verb parare, meaning "to make or prepare."

Choose the Right Synonym for vituperate

scold, upbraid, berate, rail, revile, vituperate mean to reproach angrily and abusively.

scold implies rebuking in irritation or ill temper justly or unjustly.

angrily scolding the children

upbraid implies censuring on definite and usually justifiable grounds.

upbraided her assistants for poor research

berate suggests prolonged and often abusive scolding.

berated continually by an overbearing boss

rail (at or against) stresses an unrestrained berating.

railed loudly at their insolence

revile implies a scurrilous, abusive attack prompted by anger or hatred.

an alleged killer reviled in the press

vituperate suggests a violent reviling.

was vituperated for betraying his friends

Examples of vituperate in a Sentence

every week the minister would ascend the pulpit and vituperate the parishioners for a litany of vices

Word History


Latin vituperatus, past participle of vituperare, from vitium fault + parare to make, prepare — more at pare

First Known Use

1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of vituperate was in 1542


Dictionary Entries Near vituperate

Cite this Entry

“Vituperate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


vi·​tu·​per·​ate vī-ˈt(y)ü-pə-ˌrāt How to pronounce vituperate (audio)
vituperated; vituperating
: to criticize harshly : scold
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