[ venj-fuhl ]
/ ˈvɛndʒ fəl /
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See synonyms for: vengeful / vengefully / vengefulness on Thesaurus.com

Definition of vengeful

desiring or seeking vengeance; vindictive: a vengeful attitude.
characterized by or showing a vindictive spirit: vengeful intentions.
serving to inflict vengeance: a vengeful killing.
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Origin of vengeful

First recorded in 1580–90; shortened form of revengeful


venge·ful·ly, adverbvenge·ful·ness, noununvengeful, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does vengeful mean?

Vengeful is used to describe someone who is determined to get revengeretaliation against or punishment of someone for some kind of harm that they caused or wrongdoing that they did (whether real or perceived).

Vengeful also means inclined to seek revenge. The adjective vindictive is a close synonym. A much less commonly used synonym is revengeful.

Vengeful can be used to describe people or their actions or attitude.

Revenge often involves an attempt to get even by inflicting similar harm to the person who initially harmed the person seeking revenge. Revenge has several other synonyms that each have different shades of meaning, including retribution, retaliation, and reprisal. But more than these words, revenge implies that such retaliation is personal and motivated by a deep anger and perhaps an obsessive desire to get even. This is often what it means when someone is described as vengeful.

Example: Being vengeful does more damage to you than to the person you are intent on destroying.

Where does vengeful come from?

The first records of the word vengeful come from the late 1500s. It originated as a shortened form of revengeful, whose base word, revenge, comes from the Old French revenger, from the Late Latin revindicāre, from the Latin verb vindicāre, meaning “to protect,” “to avenge,” or “to punish.” The words vengeance, avenge, vindicate, and vindictive are all based on the same root. The re- in revenge and synonyms like retribution, retaliation, and reprisal indicates that these things are done in response or reaction to another action.

People who are described as vengeful are often those who are inclined to seek revenge no matter how small the harm or slight is to begin with. The word often implies that such a person is petty and can’t stand to lose or be treated in a negative way without doing something to get even.

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What are some other forms related to vengeful?

  • vengefulness (noun)
  • vengefully (adverb)

What are some synonyms for vengeful?

What are some words that share a root or word element with vengeful


What are some words that often get used in discussing vengeful?

How is vengeful used in real life?

Vengeful can be used to describe people or their actions or attitude. It usually implies that they are unnecessarily spiteful.



Try using vengeful!

Which of the following words is a synonym of vengeful?

A. revengeful
B. vindictive
C. retaliatory
D. all of the above

How to use vengeful in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vengeful

/ (ˈvɛndʒfʊl) /

desiring revenge; vindictive
characterized by or indicating a desire for revengea vengeful glance
inflicting or taking revengewith vengeful blows

Derived forms of vengeful

vengefully, adverbvengefulness, 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