AskDefine | Define spite

Dictionary Definition



1 feeling a need to see others suffer [syn: malice, maliciousness, spitefulness, venom]
2 malevolence by virtue of being malicious or spiteful or nasty [syn: cattiness, bitchiness, spitefulness, nastiness] v : hurt the feelings of; "She hurt me when she did not include me among her guests"; "This remark really bruised me ego" [syn: hurt, wound, injure, bruise, offend]

User Contributed Dictionary




spite (uncountable)
  1. Ill-will or hatred toward another, accompanied with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart; a desire to vex or injure; petty malice; grudge; rancor.
    He was so filled with spite for his ex-wife, he could not hold down a job.
  2. Vexation; chagrin; mortification.


ill-will or hatred toward another; a desire to vex or injure
vexation, chagrin, mortification


  1. To be angry at; to hate.
  2. To treat maliciously; to try to injure or thwart.
    ''She soon married again, to spite her ex-husband."
  3. To fill with spite; to offend; to vex.


to be angry at; to hate
to treat maliciously
to fill with spite

Extensive Definition

This page is about spite in the context of fair division, a branch of theoretical economics. The word is also used in psychology and in the study of social evolution. For articles with similar names, see Spite (disambiguation).
In fair division problems, spite is a phenomenon that occurs when a player's value of an allocation decreases when one or more other players' valuation increases. Thus, other things being equal, a player exhibiting spite will prefer an allocation in which other players receive less than more (if the good is desirable).
In this language, spite is difficult to analyze because one has to assess two sets of preferences. For example, in the divide and choose method, a spiteful player would have to make a trade-off between depriving his opponent of cake, and getting more himself.
Within the field of social evolution, spite is used to describe those social behaviors that have a negative impact on both the actor and recipient(s). Spite can be favoured by kin selection when: (a) it leads to an indirect benefit to some third party that is sufficiently related to the actor (Wilsonian spite); or (b) when it is directed primarily at negatively-related individuals (Hamiltonian spite). Negative relatedness occurs when two individuals are less related than average.

In game theory

The iterated prisoner's dilemma provides an example where players may "punish" each other for failing to cooperate in previous rounds. For example, the simple "tit for tat" strategy has been shown to be effective in round-robin tournaments of iterated prisoner's dilemma.

In Industrial Relations

There is always difficulty in fairly dividing the proceeds of a business between the business owners and the employees.
When a trade union decides to call a strike, both employer and the union members lose money (and may damage the national economy). The unionists hope that the employer will give in to their demands before such losses have destroyed the business.
In the reverse direction, an employer may terminate the employment of certain productive workers who are agitating for higher wages or organising a trade union. Losing productive workers is a setback to both the business and the employees but this can serve as an example to others and thus maximise employer power.

See also


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1