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

Definition of vitriol

1 : bitterly harsh or caustic language or criticism political commentators spewing angry vitriol Rumor has always played a role in politics, but rarely have the backstage operatives been so adroit, and so cynical, in their use of vitriol.— Walter Shapiro Cascades of multisyllabic vitriol engulf us as Conrad communicates his utter loathing of television …— Stanley Marcus
2a : a sulfate of any of various metals (such as copper, iron, or zinc) especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate

Other Words from vitriol

vitriolic \ ˌvi-​trē-​ˈä-​lik How to pronounce vitriol (audio) \ adjective
vitriolic personal attacks a vitriolic debate/dispute

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 At one point, the online vitriol was bad enough that Warner Bros.’ security division was brought in to address the threats, according to Rolling Stone’s report. Andrew Marquardt, Fortune, 19 July 2022 Bredehoft also shared her belief that the vitriol Heard received on social media during the course of the trial most likely impacted the jury. Zack Sharf, Variety, 2 June 2022 For Dixie and others who get targeted, the online vitriol comes in all forms: body shaming, gear shaming, charges of egotism and self-promotion. Taylor Gee, Outside Online, 7 Nov. 2019 Trump's vitriol and his capacity to dictate Republican opinion is one big reason why Wednesday's vision of a functioning Congress is just a mirage. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 29 July 2021 Despite the vitriol, Gascón won his November election handily, besting incumbent Jackie Lacey by more than a quarter-million votes. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2021 Heard’s team has repeatedly claimed that social media and all of the vitriol against Heard on platforms such as TikTok swayed the jury in favor of Depp. Zack Sharf, Variety, 16 June 2022 Politicians, journalists and media organizations are often the target of vitriol from users hiding behind a screen. Musadiq Bidar, CBS News, 9 June 2022 The Flash is currently in trouble as its star, Ezra Miller, has been involved in multiple violent controversies, although the actor hasn’t attracted the same level of vitriol as Heard. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 4 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vitriol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for vitriol


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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