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  1. vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach.
  2. a railing accusation; vituperation.
  3. an insulting or abusive word or expression.
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  1. vituperative; denunciatory; censoriously abusive.
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Origin of invective

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 formsin·vec·tive·ly, adverbin·vec·tive·ness, nounun·in·vec·tive, adjective

Synonyms for invective

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Synonym study

1. See abuse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for invective

Contemporary Examples of invective

Historical Examples of invective

  • Then there was a current of curses, a swift hissing of invective.

  • Now the hard-hearted Bella interlards her speech with invective!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I could not endure to change my invective into panegyric all at once, and so soon.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Not succeeding, he raised his free arm in a flurry of invective.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • At home and abroad he exhausted himself in invective, in exhortation.

British Dictionary definitions for invective


  1. vehement accusation or denunciation, esp of a bitterly abusive or sarcastic kind
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  1. characterized by or using abusive language, bitter sarcasm, etc
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Derived Formsinvectively, adverbinvectiveness, noun

Word Origin for invective

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

Word Origin and History for invective


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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper