Spite (sentiment)

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To spite is to intentionally annoy, hurt, or upset even when there might be no (apparent) gain, and even when those actions might cause the person spiting harm, as well. [1] Spiteful words or actions are delivered in such a way that it is clear that the person is delivering them just to annoy, hurt, or upset. [2] When the intent to annoy, hurt, or upset is shown subtly, behavior is considered catty. [3]


In his 1929 examination of emotional disturbances, Psychology and Morals: An Analysis of Character, J. A. Hadfield uses deliberately spiteful acts to illustrate the difference between disposition and sentiment. [4]

In fiction

The Underground Man, in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novella Notes from Underground , is an example of spite. His motivation remains constantly spiteful, undercutting his own existence and ability to live.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Spite may refer to:

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Orval Hobart Mowrer was an American psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Illinois from 1948 to 1975 known for his research on behaviour therapy. Mowrer practiced psychotherapy in Champaign-Urbana and at Galesburg State Research Hospital. In 1954 Mowrer held the position of president of the American Psychological Association. Mowrer founded Integrity Groups and was instrumental in establishing GROW groups in the United States. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Mowrer as the 98th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

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James Arthur Hadfield (1882–1967) was a pioneer of psychodynamic psychotherapy in Britain, who became an influential figure at the interwar Tavistock Clinic.


  1. "10 Scientific Facts About Spite".
  2. "spite - definition of spite in English from the Oxford dictionary".
  3. http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?refid=1861595550%5B%5D
  4. Hadfield, J. A. "Psychology and Morals: An Analysis of Character". Google Books preview. Retrieved 2016-05-02.