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[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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And since Philippina never spoke of Daniel in any but a derogatory and spiteful tone, Dorothea felt perfectly safe on that ground.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • "Only to see what spiteful creatures you women are," he continued, smiling.

  • The firing had ceased save for a few sharp reports from the revolvers, like a coyote's spiteful snapping.

    Letters of a Woman Homesteader Elinore Pruitt Stewart
  • He laughed again in one low burst that was as spiteful as an imprecation.

    Tales of Unrest Joseph Conrad
  • So it's not enough to be a child in your old age, you must be a spiteful child too!

    The Possessed Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • "Yes, they would," said Calico Cat, with a spiteful twist of her tail.

    Sandman's Goodnight Stories Abbie Phillips Walker
  • spiteful, hateful words have been spoken between us; and we have seen into each other's souls.

    Small Souls Louis Couperus
  • But most of the Gentiles were ignorant and distrustful and spiteful.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
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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