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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 spitefulness
Historical Examples
  • These seemed only to augment the mirth and spitefulness of his tormentors.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • Foma did not expect this, and all his boldness and spitefulness suddenly left him.

    Foma Gordyeff Maxim Gorky
  • And if he ever met with ingratitude or spitefulness, he ignored it and dismissed it from his mind.

    Albert Ballin Bernhard Huldermann
  • "It was like his spitefulness to tie them so tight," he whimpered.

    The Vinland Champions Ottilie A. Liljencrantz
  • Neither his mother nor the baron noticed his attitude of spitefulness.

    The Burning Secret Stefan Zweig
  • A thousand kisses, and one even to Fortuna, notwithstanding his spitefulness.

  • Its spitefulness was directed entirely toward Marjorie herself.

  • This first whip of the gale seemed to have the spitefulness of disappointed rage.

    The Silent Barrier Louis Tracy
  • I am afraid you detect a faint infusion of spitefulness in that question.

    The Legacy of Cain Wilkie Collins
  • Indeed, there were times when her suspicion and spitefulness were more than I could endure.

British Dictionary definitions for spitefulness


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 spitefulness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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