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[in-vek-tiv] /ɪnˈvɛk tɪv/
vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach.
a railing accusation; vituperation.
an insulting or abusive word or expression.
vituperative; denunciatory; censoriously abusive.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Late Latin invectīvus abusive, equivalent to Latin invect(us) (past participle of invehī to attack with words, inveigh) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
invectively, adverb
invectiveness, noun
uninvective, adjective
1. contumely, scorn. See abuse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for invective
  • As the invective became more heated, pressure built to solve the question the diplomatic way: split the difference.
  • Anything that's not a tome and not weighed down with political invective is appreciated.
  • Critics of the book have been colorful in their invective.
  • They filled my comments sections with crazed invective.
  • She didn't so much report stories as use blogging, invective and search engine optimization to create an alternative reality.
  • Our apparel and attire suggest to him a chapter of fine invective.
  • There were no drunks, no thugs, no skinhead invective.
  • His tormentors swore at him, then tired of their invective and went away.
  • The invective rivals any that could be found in today's on-line snark-fests.
  • His learned image is at odds with his famed capacity for crude political invective, which he has toned down since becoming leader.
British Dictionary definitions for invective


vehement accusation or denunciation, esp of a bitterly abusive or sarcastic kind
characterized by or using abusive language, bitter sarcasm, etc
Derived Forms
invectively, adverb
invectiveness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin invectīvus reproachful, scolding, from Latin invectus carried in; see inveigh
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
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Word Origin and History for invective
1523, from a M.E. adj. (1430), "characterized by denunciatory language," from L.L. invectivus "abusive," from L. invectus, pp. of invehi "to attack with words" (see inveigh). For nuances of usage, see humor.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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