One who destroys beautiful objects to make way for what he terms “improvements,” or to indulge his own caprice. When Genseric with his Vandals captured Rome in A.D. 455, he mutilated the public monuments regardless of their worth or beauty.
“The word `vandalism' was invented by the Abbé Grégoire, à propos of the destruction of works of art by revolutionary fanatics.” —Nineteenth Century (Aug., 1893, p. 272).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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