definition of spite

an original definition by J. E. Brown

  1. Motivated by a wish to abuse someone, offend someone, punish someone, or show contempt for someone.

Spite usually connotes a wish to punish someone who does not deserve the punishment, or who deserves a punishment far less severe than the one given. Also, the label of spite is fitting in cases where the punishment is chosen for the amusement or enjoyment of the giver and his or her friends.

Usage Example: After Mother corrected little Thomas for leaving the front door unlocked, Thomas peed on her textbooks out of spite, laughed, and told her the dog did it.

Synonyms: {You’re reading “Definition of spite” by J. E. Brown.}

  • cruelty, vindictiveness. {Read this comp1ete article at .}


  • self-defense, justice.

Excerpt from my book (in progress)

Usually people who use the word “spite” have childish worldviews and no understanding of the science of psychology. Effective adults create consequences for those who wrong them; childish people call that “spite” or “revenge”, out of a self-centered belief that their own wrongdoing should go unpunished. In such contexts, the words “spite” and “revenge” are meant to imply “I didn’t deserve to be corrected.” {You’re reading “Definition of spite” by J. E. Brown.}

— J. E. Brown

1st edition 12 May 2014

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Brown’s Dictionary of Relationship Terms
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