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[in-vek-tiv] /ɪnˈvɛk tɪv/
vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach.
a railing accusation; vituperation.
an insulting or abusive word or expression.
vituperative; denunciatory; censoriously abusive.
Origin of invective
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Late Latin invectīvus abusive, equivalent to Latin invect(us) (past participle of invehī to attack with words, inveigh) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
invectively, adverb
invectiveness, noun
uninvective, adjective
1. contumely, scorn.
Synonym Study
1. See abuse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for invectives
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As always his mockery procured him a new flood of invectives.

  • His invectives ate in like corrosives, his metaphors bit like adders.

    The Thunders of Silence Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • His invectives and vituperations bite and flay like steel whips.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
  • And he ventures to express indignation at Loofs' "invectives."

    At the Deathbed of Darwinism Eberhard Dennert
  • Rilth looked at him with a snarl, uttered a stream of invectives.

    The Butterfly Kiss Arthur Dekker Savage
  • invectives of all descriptions were used with much vigour in our quarters just now.

    In the Foreign Legion Erwin Rosen
  • The driver of our mules naturally suppressed his invectives in my presence.

    Tenting on the Plains Elizabeth B. Custer
  • Rose and John, after a torrent of invectives, left that part of the country.

    The Surprises of Life Georges Clemenceau
  • The one who got the audience to laugh most at his jibes or invectives was the conqueror.

    Eskimo Life Fridtjof Nansen
British Dictionary definitions for invectives


vehement accusation or denunciation, esp of a bitterly abusive or sarcastic kind
characterized by or using abusive language, bitter sarcasm, etc
Derived Forms
invectively, adverb
invectiveness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin invectīvus reproachful, scolding, from Latin invectus carried in; see inveigh
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for invectives



1520s, from Medieval Latin invectiva "abusive speech," from Late Latin invectivus "abusive," from Latin invectus, past participle of invehi "to attack with words" (see inveigh). For nuances of usage, see humor. The earlier noun form was inveccion (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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