Definition of spite in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone.

    ‘he'd think I was saying it out of spite’
    • ‘They displayed their immaturity, their envy and spite and malice, in refusing to condemn this act of terrorism.’
    • ‘Mrs Cunningham gave me a calculating look over my sketchpad that was filled with spite and dislike.’
    • ‘He was too angry and full of spite towards the goddess for them not to be true.’
    • ‘It would have been easier if she left him with harsh words and eyes full of spite and loathing.’
    • ‘Everyone preaches love, but then why is there so much hate and spite in this beautiful world?’
    • ‘It was the kind of thing which really hurt her reputation and it was done for spite.’
    • ‘What I can tell you is that neither malice nor spite appears to be a motivating factor in any of their maneuvers.’
    • ‘It means that we are subjects of jealousy and envy and malice and spite and hatred.’
    • ‘Those of a pure heart who would never hurt anyone in sheer spite.’
    • ‘Cheating, boasting, malice and spite - my sons are blessedly free from all of these.’
    • ‘In truth, he seems to be more motivated and inspired by bitterness and spite than ever.’
    • ‘Malice is commonly understood, in the popular sense as spite or ill-will.’
    • ‘I imagine Andrew Sullivan's mailbox is full of just such spite as much for his Catholicism and for being gay.’
    • ‘Keating deserves every bit of spite and venom directed his way.’
    • ‘He hoped she grew out of her hatefulness one day, and hoped that there was a good reason why she was so full of malice and spite.’
    • ‘You may be a victim of malice, spite and slander as friends and associates indulge in negative gossip.’
    • ‘Clara said the last word with as much spite and disgust as she could conjure.’
    • ‘It has a wider meaning than spite, ill will or a spirit of vengeance.’
    • ‘It encourages spite and malice, and suggests that the Church of England has sex on the brain.’
    • ‘The Thrale mother-daughter relationship is full of spite and recrimination.’
    malice, maliciousness, ill will, ill feeling, spitefulness, bitterness, animosity, hostility, antagonism, enmity, resentment, resentfulness, rancour, malevolence, venom, spleen, gall, malignance, malignity, evil intentions, envy, hate, hatred, vengeance, vengefulness, vindictiveness
    nastiness, mean-spiritedness, meanness
    bitchiness, cattiness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic [count noun]A grudge.
      ‘it seemed as if the wind had a spite at her’
      • ‘Leeds showed character, spirit and not a little spite to claw themselves back into the match.’
      • ‘The banality of grey, prison like walls high-rising above their heads was a spite to their very faces.’


  • Deliberately hurt, annoy, or offend (someone)

    ‘he put the house up for sale to spite his family’
    • ‘But with just one day to go, fate spites me with a deluge and I shall drive to work draped in towels and with a cap on my head.’
    • ‘Referees spited him for his nonstop lip-flapping and lack of decorum.’
    • ‘She couldn't care less for Charles Hamilton and did it only to spite Ashley.’
    • ‘I guess I thought I was spiting Kim by leaving her favourite shoes there but all that resulted were dirty feet and a piece of glass lodged in my toe.’
    • ‘It felt as if it had been yesterday that he had spited her the same way.’
    • ‘She must know that is my job and so is doing it to spite me.’
    • ‘Luke has never done anything to hurt me or spite me, to anger me or make me regret myself.’
    • ‘She wanted to stay but was already running late for lunch and did not want to embarrass herself on account of spiting her father.’
    • ‘You're clearly far more interested in spiting this man than in considering the defense needs of the country.’
    • ‘Yeah, because Henry wonders whether people would like his dad to spite him.’
    • ‘Smoking is much more dangerous than eating genetically modified organisms, therefore they must just be doing it to spite the Americans.’
    • ‘However when she didn't do it, he became even more angry and decided to keep walking to spite her.’
    • ‘The answer appears to be that he hates Frank Lautenburg so much that he will cost his party the election to spite him.’
    • ‘It's further spiting me today by giving me some horrendous bowel cramps and spectacular diarrhoea.’
    • ‘She hadn't known what had become of her beloved mother, but she had to hope Benjamin was just spiting her.’
    • ‘Unless people are petty enough to not vote for Shayne to spite Louis, he'll be safe.’
    • ‘It was on my third or fourth circuit of the city centre that I decided they'd hidden Bristol Temple Meads railway station, just to spite me.’
    • ‘It would be an enormous compliment to Barry if the government now went to all the trouble of choosing a different date just to spite him.’
    • ‘It was becoming a bad habit of mine, spiting him.’
    • ‘I am going to be incredibly self-indulgent that day and light one hundred candles just to spite you.’
    upset, hurt, wound, distress, injure
    annoy, irritate, vex, displease, provoke, gall, peeve, pique, offend, put out
    thwart, foil, frustrate
    aggravate, rile, miff
    piss off
    View synonyms


Middle English: shortening of Old French despit contempt, despiter show contempt for.