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See more synonyms for vindictive on Thesaurus.com
  1. disposed or inclined to revenge; vengeful: a vindictive person.
  2. proceeding from or showing a revengeful spirit: vindictive rumors.
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Origin of vindictive

1610–20; < Latin vindict(a) vengeance + -ive
Related formsvin·dic·tive·ly, adverbvin·dic·tive·ness, nounun·vin·dic·tive, adjectiveun·vin·dic·tive·ly, adverbun·vin·dic·tive·ness, noun
Can be confusedvindicatory vindictive


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

Examples from the Web for vindictive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And it's the devil's own labour I've had to prevail upon them not to be vindictive.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Such were the sops with which he sought to quench his vindictive rage.

  • He was no longer bitter and vindictive, as he had been in the days of his degradation.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • If she was vengeful and vindictive, it was what the country had made her.

  • But that man Granger must have been a vindictive brute to carry it so far.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

British Dictionary definitions for vindictive


  1. disposed to seek vengeance
  2. characterized by spite or rancour
  3. English law (of damages) in excess of the compensation due to the plaintiff and imposed in punishment of the defendant
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Derived Formsvindictively, adverbvindictiveness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin vindicta revenge, from vindicāre to vindicate
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 vindictive


1610s, from Latin vindicta "revenge" (see vindication). Related: Vindictively.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper