• 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

Synonyms for spite

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

Examples from the Web for spiting

Historical Examples of spiting

  • The idea of spiting a town because there has been a row in it seems to me to be preposterous.

    North America, Volume I (of 2)

    Anthony Trollope

  • Nothing else on the river but the usual guards of spiting devil.

  • Moreover, in their present mood each of these women saw a chance of spiting another by depriving her of the job.

    Brother Copas

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • He gives his money to hospitals because the last pleasure of which he is capable is that of spiting his relations.

    The Prime Minister

    Anthony Trollope

  • In addition Dupuy, the head of the Cabinet, seemed to be spiting the new President.

British Dictionary definitions for spiting


  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 for spite

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 spiting



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 spiting


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.