See more synonyms for spiteful on Thesaurus.com

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

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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for spitefulness

Historical Examples of spitefulness

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for spitefulness


  1. 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