Vindictive refers to someone who is eager to seek revenge or to harm others because of a perceived wrong. It can also refer to actions or behaviors that are intended to harm someone else.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Revengeful, spiteful, vengeful, unforgiving, retaliatory, malicious, hateful, resentful


Forgiving, merciful, benevolent, compassionate, magnanimous

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun vindictivenesses, vindictiveness
Verb None
Adjective vindictive
Adverb vindictively

Example Sentences

  • She was so vindictive that she tried to ruin his reputation by spreading false rumors about him.

  • Despite the fact that the situation had been resolved, the vindictive employee continued to sabotage his coworker’s projects.

  • The vindictive ex-girlfriend took revenge on her former boyfriend by stealing his car and setting it on fire.

  • The vindictive politician used his power to destroy the careers of those who opposed him.


The word vindictive can be used to describe people who seek revenge or are motivated by a desire to cause harm to others. It is often used in the context of personal relationships or conflicts, but can also apply to broader societal issues.

The root of the word, “vindicate,” means to clear from blame or suspicion, and it is interesting to note that the word vindictive has a similar sound but a completely opposite meaning. This contrast highlights the negative connotation associated with the desire for revenge or to harm others.

It is important to recognize that being vindictive can be harmful to both the person seeking revenge and the target of their actions. In personal relationships, vindictiveness can lead to a cycle of retaliation and escalating conflicts. In larger societal contexts, vindictiveness can perpetuate conflicts and injustices. In contrast, forgiveness and understanding can help to break these cycles and promote healing and reconciliation.