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vandal

[van-dl] /ˈvæn dl/
noun
1.
(initial capital letter) a member of a Germanic people who in the 5th century a.d. ravaged Gaul and Spain, settled in Africa, and in a.d. 455 sacked Rome.
2.
a person who willfully or ignorantly destroys or mars something beautiful or valuable.
adjective
3.
(initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the Vandals.
4.
imbued with or characterized by vandalism.
Origin
1545-1555
1545-55; < Late Latin Vandalus, Latinized tribal name
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for vandals

vandal

/ˈvændəl/
noun
1.
  1. a person who deliberately causes damage or destruction to personal or public property
  2. (as modifier): vandal instincts
Word Origin
C17: from Vandal, from Latin Vandallus, of Germanic origin

Vandal

/ˈvændəl/
noun
1.
a member of a Germanic people that raided Roman provinces in the 3rd and 4th centuries ad before devastating Gaul (406–409), conquering Spain and N Africa, and sacking Rome (455): crushed by Belisarius at Carthage (533)
Derived Forms
Vandalic (vænˈdælɪk) adjective
Vandalism, 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 vandals

vandal

n.

1660s, "willful destroyer of what is beautiful or venerable," from Vandals, name of the Germanic tribe that sacked Rome in 455 under Genseric, from Latin Vandalus (plural Vandali), from the tribe's name for itself (Old English Wendlas), from Proto-Germanic *Wandal- "Wanderer."

There does not seem to be in the story of the capture of Rome by the Vandals any justification for the charge of willful and objectless destruction of public buildings which is implied in the word 'vandalism.' It is probable that this charge grew out of the fierce persecution which was carried on by [the Vandal king] Gaiseric and his son against the Catholic Christians, and which is the darkest stain on their characters. ["Encyclopaedia Britannica," 13th ed., 1926]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vandals in Culture

Vandals definition


A people of northern Europe, known for their cruelty and destructiveness, who invaded the Roman Empire and plundered Rome itself in the fifth century.

Note: The term vandalism, meaning wanton destructiveness, comes from the name of the Vandals.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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