- to take vengeance or exact satisfaction for: to avenge a grave insult.
- to take vengeance on behalf of: He avenged his brother.
Origin of avenge
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Avenge, revenge both imply to inflict pain or harm in return for pain or harm inflicted on oneself or those persons or causes to which one feels loyalty. The two words were formerly interchangeable, but have been differentiated until they now convey widely diverse ideas. Avenge is now restricted to inflicting punishment as an act of retributive justice or as a vindication of propriety: to avenge a murder by bringing the criminal to trial. Revenge implies inflicting pain or harm to retaliate for real or fancied wrongs; a reflexive pronoun is often used with this verb: Iago wished to revenge himself upon Othello.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (usually tr) to inflict a punishment in retaliation for (harm, injury, etc) done to (a person or persons); take revenge for or on behalf ofto avenge a crime; to avenge a murdered friend
C14: from Old French avengier, from vengier, from Latin vindicāre; see vengeance, vindicate
The use of avenge with a reflexive pronoun was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable: she avenged herself on the man who killed her daughter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for avengeful
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper