10 Words For Someone Who Holds A Grudge (Meaning Explained)

Most of us have, at some point or another, known someone who can hold a grudge. Perhaps, we are the person who can hold a grudge. With that being said, what is an appropriate term to use to describe a person who can hold a grudge?

What Do You Call Someone Who Holds A Grudge?

There are many applicable and appropriate terms that we can utilize to describe someone who consistently holds a grudge. However, for the purposes of this article, we will be discussing the following ten terms:

  • Spiteful
  • Resentful
  • Bitter
  • Vindictive
  • Rancorous
  • Vendetta
  • Implacable
  • Enmity
  • Animus
  • Antipathy
Words For Someone Who Holds A Grudge

The preferred version that we will be highlighting is the term “spiteful”. This is because the term “spiteful” very accurately describes a person who holds a grudge. Someone who is “spiteful” often has difficulty letting things go or moving on.


When we say that someone is “spiteful”, we often mean to express that not only can they hold a grudge, but they often do so for long periods of time. They also tend to be someone who holds onto anger and can act in malicious ways because of it.

According to Cambridge Dictionary, “spiteful” is defined as wanting to annoy, upset, or hurt another person, especially in a small way, because you feel angry towards them. Therefore, we can consider a “spiteful” person to hold a grudge, but also wish to act in a negative way towards the person they are holding the grudge against.

We will now look over a few examples that highlight the use of this particular term:

  • The child was incredibly spiteful after his mother told him that he could no longer have any chocolate.
  • That was such a spiteful thing to say and you should be very ashamed of yourself for it!
  • She was spiteful towards her ex-boyfriend and because of that, she attempted to ruin his new relationship.


Another great alternative term that we can choose to use is “resentful”. We often say that someone is “resentful” when they present feelings or express bitterness or indignation at having been treated unfairly. Often, someone will be “resentful” towards another individual.

We can see that Cambridge Dictionary defines “resentful” as feeling angry because you have been forced to accept someone or something that you do not like.

The following examples showcase the proper use of this term:

  • He held a deep-rooted resentment towards the other students in his class, whom his teacher showed favoritism towards.
  • She was resentful of her older sister getting to go on a school trip to New York City.
  • I have been known to be quite resentful at times, but it is something that I am actively working on.


“Bitter” is another appropriate term to describe someone who holds a grudge. Often, someone who is “bitter” has experienced something in the past, that they still hold onto and can’t seem to move on from. This causes many negative feelings towards someone or something in particular.

Cambridge Dictionary defines a “bitter” person as someone who is angry and unhappy because they cannot forget bad things that happened in the past or an experience that has caused deep pain.

We can now look over a few examples that showcase how to use this term in a sentence:

  • She lied and told her friends that she didn’t feel jealous or bitter, but she most certainly did.
  • He feels very bitter towards his parents in regards to his childhood and all the negativity he experienced.
  • She suffered terribly as a result of immense bullying in high school, however, it hadn’t made her bitter.


Another appropriate alternative term that we can use to refer to someone who holds a grudge is “vindictive”. A “vindictive” individual is often known for having or showing a strong or unreasoning desire for revenge, which they will occasionally act on.

In terms of the Cambridge Dictionary, “vindictive” is defined as having or showing a wish to harm someone because you think that they harmed you or being entirely unwilling to forgive.

The following examples highlight the proper use of the term “vindictive”:

  • She was considered to be very vindictive by her peers, so many avoided getting to know her on a personal level.
  • He was very vindictive towards his ex-girlfriend and actively attempted to create problems in her life.
  • The team has lost to their rival school an abundance of times, which made them rather vindictive.


An uncommon, but an excellent alternative that we can choose to use is “rancorous”. Generally speaking, someone who is thought of as being “rancorous” is considered to be characterized by both bitterness and a deep-rooted resentment towards someone or a group of people.

Cambridge Dictionary defines “rancorous” as having or showing a feeling of hate and continuing anger about something in the past.

Here are a few examples that highlight the proper use of this term:

  • The deal ended with a series of absolutely rancorous disputes between the two owners.
  • The officials seemed to become increasingly rancorous towards the visiting dignitaries.
  • The couple went through an awful and rancorous divorce that negatively affected their children.


We can consider the term “vendetta” to be another great way to describe someone or a group of people who hold a similar grudge. Often, we will consider a “vendetta” to be a prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone.

As we can see in Cambridge Dictionary, a “vendetta” is defined as a long and violent argument between people or families, in which one group tries to harm the other in order to punish them for things that happened in the past.

We will now look over the following examples:

  • She was the victim of a personal vendetta that her ex-husband has against her.
  • He accused her of actively pursuing a vendetta against him and his family.
  • Despite being long-time vendettas, the two put their differences aside for their cousin’s wedding.


“Implacable” is another phenomenal term that we can choose to use when trying to accurately describe someone who holds a grudge. We can consider someone who is “implacable” to be absolutely relentless or completely unstoppable and unwilling to change their mind.

As shown by Cambridge Dictionary, “implacable” is defined as being used to describe someone who has strong opinions or feelings that are impossible to change.

The following various examples show how to properly use this specific term:

  • She considered her high school rival to be her implacable enemy, even after they had graduated.
  • He showed an immeasurable level of implacable hostility towards his ex-girlfriend.
  • The feelings of love were now replaced with implacable hatred after the issues involving cheating.


We can choose to use the term “enmity” similarly to our other alternative terms. The term “enmity” is often considered to be the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something. “Enmity” is often thought of as a deep-rooted feeling, that is often unchanging.

When looking at Cambridge Dictionary, we can see that “enmity” is defined as a feeling of hate or a very strong dislike.

We can now go over these examples, that show the use of “enmity” in a sentence:

  • She profusely denied any feelings of enmity towards him, however, her friends did not believe her.
  • There had been decades of enmity between the two countries, which resulted in a full-blown war.
  • The two teachers had a lot of enmity between them, which was apparent to the rest of the staff.


Another phenomenal term that we can choose to use when describing someone who can hold a grudge is “animus”. We can consider an “animus” person to be someone who has ill feelings or hostility towards someone else. An “animus” person is often very negative and angry.

As we can see, Cambridge Dictionary defines “animus” as a feeling of hate or anger towards someone or something.

The following are examples that highlight the use of this term:

  • He swore that he harbored no animus towards his long-time rival, despite being angry at the loss.
  • The author wrote her book and it showcased her animus feelings towards her family.
  • An animus individual is often very spiteful or malevolent towards their enemies or rivals.


The final alternative term that we will be looking at is “antipathy”. We can consider “antipathy” to be a deep-seated feeling of dislike, which can often come across as a very strong aversion towards someone or a group of people.

Cambridge Dictionary defines “antipathy” as a feeling of strong dislike, opposition, or anger.

Finally, we will go over the last few examples for this article, that showcase the use of “antipathy”:

  • His letter of resignation showed his deep and intense level of antipathy towards his coworkers.
  • Racial antipathy against any ethnicity will not be tolerated within our workplace.
  • He had a fundamental antipathy towards the police or any other professional position of authority.

What Does It Mean To Hold A Grudge?

When we say that someone holds a grudge, we mean to express that they harbor anger, bitterness, resentment, or other negative feelings long after someone has done something to hurt them. These feelings often become so deep-rooted, that they are hard to change or move forward from.

It’s important to note that while holding a grudge is a common thing to do, it isn’t healthy. We ought to work towards letting go of negativity and resolving our issues with others, as opposed to becoming increasingly angry or vindictive.