Definition of vandal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvandl/


1A person who deliberately destroys or damages public or private property: the rear window of the car was smashed by vandals
More example sentences
  • Council chiefs have slammed vandals who deliberately damaged a historic priory.
  • Generous people have raised money to replace church windows that were destroyed by vandals.
  • A mother has hit out at vandals who damaged a memorial to her teenage daughter.
2 (Vandal) A member of a Germanic people that ravaged Gaul, Spain, and North Africa in the 4th-5th centuries and sacked Rome in ad 455.
Example sentences
  • At Carthage, the pirate kingdom of the Vandals outlived imperial Rome by several decades.
  • Worse, the Vandals had entered into North Africa, cutting Rome off from its supply of grain.
  • The Vandals occupied North Africa, successfully assimilating late Roman art.


From Latin Vandalus, of Germanic origin. sense 1 dates from the mid 17th century.

  • In the 4th and 5th centuries ad the Vandals were a Teutonic people who ravaged Gaul, Spain, and North Africa, and sacked Rome in 455. In Latin the name for a Vandal was Vandalus, which is also behind Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. The Romans overthrew the Vandals in 533 at the battle of Tricamarum, and like most victors set about discrediting their opponents, with the result that the Vandals were branded as destroyers of anything beautiful or worthy of preservation. Our modern sense evolved in the 17th century, and vandalism in the 18th. The Goths suffered the opposite fate. They were another Germanic tribe who invaded other parts of Europe in the same period. When Gothic was applied to medieval architecture in the mid 17th century it was often used disparagingly, but once the style came back into fashion it became approving.

Words that rhyme with vandal

candle, Coromandel, dandle, Handel, handle, mishandle, Randall, sandal, scandal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: van·dal

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