9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[spahyt-fuh l] /ˈspaɪt fəl/
full of spite or malice; showing spite; malicious; malevolent; venomous:
a spiteful child.
Origin of spiteful
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; see spite, -ful
Related forms
spitefully, adverb
spitefulness, noun
unspiteful, adjective
unspitefully, adverb
vengeful, mean, cruel, rancorous. Spiteful, revengeful, vindictive refer to a desire to inflict a wrong or injury on someone, usually in return for one received. Spiteful implies a mean or malicious desire for (often petty) revenge: a spiteful attitude toward a former friend. Revengeful implies a deep, powerful, and continued intent to repay a wrong: a fierce and revengeful spirit. Vindictive does not imply action necessarily, but stresses the unforgiving nature of the avenger: a vindictive look.
benevolent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spiteful
  • Any kind of spiteful or negative comment is sure to be magnified and repeated with relish.
  • spiteful motivations and sophisticated social learning skills, however, appear uniquely human.
  • They have received threats of violence, they say, and inspired spiteful decals and bumper stickers.
  • Or they may be spiteful messages intended to tease and confuse.
  • The nurses also equaled him in spiteful outbursts that made it possible to wonder if they, too, were emotionally disordered.
  • Seems rather petty and spiteful for such awe inspiring rational beings.
  • The rest has the effect of a bit of cosmically spiteful chaos in an interior decorator's salon, space, or a cosmetics factory.
  • The audience grew spiteful and ready to throw things.
  • Though he was eliminated last week he survived several eliminations with humorous, sometimes spiteful songs that stung.
  • After ending a relationship don't spread mean or spiteful rumors.
British Dictionary definitions for spiteful


full of or motivated by spite; vindictive
Derived Forms
spitefully, adverb
spitefulness, 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
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Word Origin and History for spiteful

mid-15c., from spite + -ful. Related: Spitefully; spitefulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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