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 spitefulness

Historical Examples of spitefulness

  • He regretted the spitefulness that had led him to write in another name than hers because she had refused to support him.

  • So the day passed, with endless ill-natured jesting and spitefulness.

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete

    Martin Anderson Nexo

  • It is the essence of spitefulness to say that nothing can be a benefit which does not cause some inconvenience to the giver.

  • He merely visited his humiliation on her, and found her beauty spoiled by her spitefulness.

    A Man's Hearth

    Eleanor M. Ingram

  • A cat, in all languages, has been the symbol of deceit and spitefulness, and she is more fit for an ash barrel than a pulpit.

    Around The Tea-Table

    T. De Witt Talmage

British Dictionary definitions for spitefulness



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 spitefulness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper