[ van-dl ]
/ ˈvæn dl /


(initial capital letter) a member of a Germanic people who in the 5th century a.d. ravaged Gaul and Spain, settled in Africa, and in a.d. 455 sacked Rome.
a person who willfully or ignorantly destroys or mars something beautiful or valuable.


(initial capital letter) of or relating to the Vandals.
imbued with or characterized by vandalism.

Origin of vandal

First recorded in 1545–55, vandal is from the Late Latin word Vandalus, Latinized tribal name Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for vandals

British Dictionary definitions for vandals (1 of 2)

/ (ˈvændəl) /


  1. a person who deliberately causes damage or destruction to personal or public property
  2. (as modifier)vandal instincts

Word Origin for vandal

C17: from Vandal, from Latin Vandallus, of Germanic origin

British Dictionary definitions for vandals (2 of 2)

/ (ˈvændəl) /


a member of a Germanic people that raided Roman provinces in the 3rd and 4th centuries ad before devastating Gaul (406–409), conquering Spain and N Africa, and sacking Rome (455): crushed by Belisarius at Carthage (533)

Derived forms of Vandal

Vandalic (vænˈdælɪk), adjectiveVandalism, 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

Cultural definitions for vandals


A people of northern Europe, known for their cruelty and destructiveness, who invaded the Roman Empire and plundered Rome itself in the fifth century.

notes for Vandals

The term vandalism, meaning wanton destructiveness, comes from the name of the Vandals.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.