• synonyms


  1. a malicious, usually petty, desire to harm, annoy, frustrate, or humiliate another person; bitter ill will; malice.
  2. a particular instance of such an attitude or action; grudge.
  3. Obsolete. something that causes vexation; annoyance.
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verb (used with object), spit·ed, spit·ing.
  1. to treat with spite or malice.
  2. to annoy or thwart, out of spite.
  3. to fill with spite; vex; offend.
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  1. cut off one's nose to spite one's face. nose(def 23).
  2. in spite of, in disregard or defiance of; notwithstanding; despite: She arrived at school on time in spite of the snowstorm.
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Origin of spite

1250–1300; Middle English; aphetic variant of despite
Related formsspite·less, adjectiveun·spit·ed, adjective


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for spites

Historical Examples

  • Surely the spites were gathering in force again, and this was their doing.

    The Girl From Tim's Place

    Charles Clark Munn

  • He spites him by damaging his plants all he can in a sly and ingenious way.

  • She knew what spites were; but the god Pan and Apollo with his harp were unknown forms.

    The Girl From Tim's Place

    Charles Clark Munn

  • Human meanness is never so pitiful as when it tries to seize on God's judgments as weapons with which to gratify its own spites.

    The End Of The World

    Edward Eggleston

  • The world of Islam was rent in twain by the spites, greeds, and partisan silliness of a handful of men and women in Medina.

British Dictionary definitions for spites


  1. maliciousness involving the desire to harm another; venomous ill will
  2. an instance of such malice; grudge
  3. archaic something that induces vexation
  4. in spite of (preposition) in defiance of; regardless of; notwithstanding
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verb (tr)
  1. to annoy in order to vent spite
  2. archaic to offend
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Word Origin

C13: variant of despite
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 spites



c.1300, shortened form of despit "malice" (see despite). Corresponding to Middle Dutch spijt, Middle Low German spyt, Middle Swedish spit. Commonly spelled spight c.1575-1700. The verb is attested from c.1400. Phrase in spite of is recorded from c.1400.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with spites


see in spite of.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.