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[spahyt-fuh l] /ˈspaɪt fəl/
full of spite or malice; showing spite; malicious; malevolent; venomous:
a spiteful child.
Origin of spiteful
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1400-50; See origin at spite, -ful
Related forms
spitefully, adverb
spitefulness, noun
unspiteful, adjective
unspitefully, adverb
vengeful, mean, cruel, rancorous. Spiteful, revengeful, vindictive refer to a desire to inflict a wrong or injury on someone, usually in return for one received. Spiteful implies a mean or malicious desire for (often petty) revenge: a spiteful attitude toward a former friend. Revengeful implies a deep, powerful, and continued intent to repay a wrong: a fierce and revengeful spirit. Vindictive does not imply action necessarily, but stresses the unforgiving nature of the avenger: a vindictive look.
benevolent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spiteful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She hesitated, and then fired a parting shot which certainly was spiteful in the extreme.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • And that spiteful Bobcat, that took advantage of him; and the man that had tried to kill him.

    The Biography of a Grizzly Ernest Seton-Thompson
  • Her fingers were spiteful as they clicked the key in answer.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • But this spiteful idea could not be sustained in face of the aspect she had now assumed.

    Casanova's Homecoming Arthur Schnitzler
  • She was a Socitaire of the Comdie, old, spiteful, and surly.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • "Only to see what spiteful creatures you women are," he continued, smiling.

  • "He didn't have to be so everlastin' mean and spiteful about it, anyhow," she declared.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • Sometimes I could have pitied her, she was so greedy, so spiteful, so friendless.

British Dictionary definitions for spiteful


full of or motivated by spite; vindictive
Derived Forms
spitefully, adverb
spitefulness, noun
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 spiteful

mid-15c., from spite + -ful. Related: Spitefully; spitefulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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