full of spite or malice; showing spite; malicious; malevolent; venomous: a spiteful child.

Origin of spiteful

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at spite, -ful
Related formsspite·ful·ly, adverbspite·ful·ness, nounun·spite·ful, adjectiveun·spite·ful·ly, adverb

Synonyms for spiteful

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.

Antonyms for spiteful

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spiteful

Contemporary Examples of spiteful

Historical Examples of spiteful

  • She hesitated, and then fired a parting shot which certainly was spiteful in the extreme.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for spiteful



full of or motivated by spite; vindictive
Derived Formsspitefully, adverbspitefulness, 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

Word Origin and History for spiteful

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper