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[ri-tal-ee-eyt] /rɪˈtæl iˌeɪt/
verb (used without object), retaliated, retaliating.
to return like for like, especially evil for evil:
to retaliate for an injury.
verb (used with object), retaliated, retaliating.
to requite or make return for (a wrong or injury) with the like.
Origin of retaliate
1605-15; < Late Latin retāliātus (past participle of retāliāre), equivalent to re- re- + tāli(s) such, of such a nature + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
retaliative, retaliatory
[ri-tal-ee-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /rɪˈtæl i əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
retaliator, noun
unretaliated, adjective
unretaliating, adjective
unretaliative, adjective
unretaliatory, adjective
1. counter, repay, reciprocate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for retaliate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • High favour, when a lady condescends to remember and retaliate.

  • By this means he announced that he was prepared to retaliate for any hurt he might receive.

    White Fang Jack London
  • Possibly, like Mephistopheles in Faust, he may retaliate on his adversaries.

    The Republic Plato
  • And I hope that you in your turn will retaliate upon me if I am false to my own principle.

    Laws Plato
  • It is not strange that when harpooned it should retaliate by attacking its assailant.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
British Dictionary definitions for retaliate


(intransitive) to take retributory action, esp by returning some injury or wrong in kind
(intransitive) to cast (accustations) back upon a person
(transitive) (rare) to avenge (an injury, wrong, etc)
Derived Forms
retaliation, noun
retaliative, retaliatory, adjective
retaliator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin retāliāre, from Latin re- + tālis of such kind
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
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Word Origin and History for retaliate

1610s, from Latin retaliatus, past participle of retaliare "requite, retaliate" (see retaliation). Related: Retaliated; retaliating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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