Invective is a noun that refers to abusive or insulting language that is used to attack or denounce someone. It is a type of speech that is often characterized by its vitriolic tone and aggressive rhetoric, and is intended to humiliate or discredit the person being targeted.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Abuse, vituperation, denunciation, condemnation, reproach, scolding


Praise, commendation, flattery, adulation

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun invective, invectives
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The political debate descended into invective, with both candidates hurling insults at each other.

  • He was known for his sharp tongue and his invective-laden rants against anyone who dared to cross him.

  • The newspaper was criticized for its use of invective in its editorial, which many felt was unprofessional and uncivil.

  • The speaker’s invective against the government drew both applause and criticism from the audience.


Invective is a powerful tool that can be used to sway opinions and discredit opponents, but it is often seen as a sign of weakness and desperation. It is commonly used in political discourse and in debates, where the goal is to score points against an opponent and win over voters. However, it can also be used in everyday conversation, as a means of venting frustration or anger.

The word invective comes from the Latin invectivus, which means “abusive.” Its usage is closely related to the concept of ad hominem attacks, which are personal attacks that are directed at an opponent’s character or motives, rather than at the substance of their argument. Invective is often employed as a means of shifting the focus away from the issues at hand and onto the person making the argument.

In order to avoid resorting to invective, it is important to focus on the facts and the substance of the argument, rather than attacking the person making it. This requires a certain level of self-control and discipline, but it is essential for maintaining civil and productive discourse. When used appropriately and sparingly, invective can be an effective tool for highlighting flaws and weaknesses in an argument or position, but it should never be used as a substitute for reasoned debate and discussion.