For example: if a teacher marks a students work down just because they don't like the student. Or if a McDonald's worker only fills your coffee cup half way because they remember the last time when you complained about your chips being cold.

I'm not even sure there is a word for the way that person is behaving - 'Stop being so _____?'.

I want to say jealous/revenge/karma/awkward/mean but those words just don't seem to fit. Thank you for your help.

  • 6
    Maybe also unprofessional as we expect people to perform their duties according to the standards set forth or the terms of the bargain, whatever their feelings might be for a customer.
    – user98955
    Jun 10, 2015 at 11:18
  • 1
    A useful word in this context is "biased". One may be biased for or against someone or something. If a teacher marks a student down because they don't like the student one might say that the the teacher is biased against or prejudiced against the student. Jun 10, 2015 at 19:55
  • 1
    @martin: "Stop being so persecution"?? Jun 10, 2015 at 21:02
  • 1
    They don't sell chips at McDonalds. Jun 11, 2015 at 18:32
  • 1
    @AbraCadaver: They do if you are a BrE speaker. Jun 11, 2015 at 22:54

8 Answers 8


...because they remember the last time...

out of grudge

A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury:

I’ve never been one to hold a grudge

EDIT: As JR points out, 'out of grudge' isn't a very common phrase. (A paltry 1500 hits on Google books)

... just because they don't like the student...

out of spite

A desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone:

he’d think I was saying it out of spite

Stop being so spiteful

  • 2
    Of course! My brain is very fuzzy today so thank you for your help, my thesaurus wasn't quite cutting it. Jun 10, 2015 at 11:02
  • @IanFerguson: You're welcome :)
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 10, 2015 at 11:06
  • 1
    @TusharRaj, I knew it would be you. +1.
    – Misti
    Jun 10, 2015 at 12:29
  • 2
    To verbify grudge, consider begrudge.
    – talrnu
    Jun 10, 2015 at 16:54
  • 1
    @talrnu: begrudge is a synonym of the verb grudge, which is not the verb form of the noun grudge. It has a different meaning,
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 12, 2015 at 10:26


feeling or expressing bitterness or indignation at having been treated unfairly.


feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment.


having or showing a strong or unreasoning desire for revenge.

  • 1
    +1, good suggestions, would you care to link some resources!!!
    – Misti
    Jun 10, 2015 at 12:31
  • I'm getting loads of good words here, and a really helpful community thanks :) Jun 10, 2015 at 12:35
  • 1
    @AishwaryaAR: Google's primary source of definition is Oxford. It moves on to others if Oxford doesn't define it. Go here, right click on the search-box and click 'add as search engine'. You can now search Oxford directly from Chrome's omnibox.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 10, 2015 at 13:46
  • 1
    +1 "vindictive" really is the word the querent is after. Jun 10, 2015 at 16:35
  • 1
    "vindictive/vengeance" was my answer.
    – Raydot
    Jun 10, 2015 at 18:09

Petty or mean-spirited also work here, if the offense is relatively minor (a police officer planting drugs on a suspect because she didn't like his T-shirt slogan would not be petty- it would be criminal).


When your negative feelings affect your treatment of someone, it is often called "prejudicial treatment". The opposite of this would be "preferential treatment".


This question admits of more than one answer.

If you are unfair, or do harm to someone just because you don't like them (the teacher example), you can be "morally evil", "unjust", "foul", "spiteful", or a dozen synonyms depending on what you've done.

If you don't like the person because of a minor incident, you are the kind of person who nurses a grievance or holds a grudge (as already mentioned by Tushar).

But for something more serious, and you want to get even, I would say it's revenge. And you may be a revengeful person.

  • evil (adj) morally bad, causing harm or injury to someone MW

  • revengeful - (adj) "full of or prone to revenge" MW

  • grievance - (noun) " a feeling of resentment or injustice at having been unfairly treated" e.g. In the petition, the students listed their many grievances against the university administration. TFD

  • get even (verb) informal, "if you get even with someone who has done something bad to you, you do something bad to them" TFD

  • grudge - (noun) " A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury" e.g. She held a grudge against her former boss. ODO

  • 1
    That is true, I suppose it depends on the severity of what action is being performed in order to achieve 'revenge'. I went with 'out of spite' in the end as i guess you could say the person was being rather petty about the issue. Thank you for your input :) Jun 10, 2015 at 13:53
  • Typo: This question allows more than one answer. (no "of")
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:01
  • To say a teacher is morally evil if he or she gives a C (or 7) for an assignment, is a bit extreme!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:02
  • @Mari-LouA Have I written that, Mari-Lou? There is a comma after "teacher" and several adjectives depending on what harm is inflicted.
    – Centaurus
    Jun 10, 2015 at 14:13
  • Unless they give you a C instead of an A because you're ginger - that's morally evil! haha Jun 10, 2015 at 14:14

No good answer here, but for possible inspiration: you are looking for the inverse of "nepotism" or "favoritism". Sadly, searching for opposites of these will mostly yield results tending towards fairness, rather than unfairness in the opposite direction.

Technically it is a form/side of favouritism or nepotism, but those might not convey your meaning very well in context.


To snub someone, spurn them, scorn them, etc. is to perform an act or gesture of disdainful rejection toward them.

When you perform a gesture or action to insult someone, it could be said you are thumbing your nose at them. There is a litany of similar idioms.


Frequently used for this is hateful.

arousing, deserving of, or filled with hatred.

"hateful letters of abuse that had come unsigned"

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.