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[ri-trib-yuh-tiv] /rɪˈtrɪb yə tɪv/
characterized by or involving retribution:
retributive justice.
Also, retributory
[ri-trib-yuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /rɪˈtrɪb yəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA)
Origin of retributive
1670-80; obsolete retribute to make retribution (< Latin retribūtus; see retribution) + -ive
Related forms
retributively, adverb
unretributive, adjective
unretributory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for retributory
Historical Examples
  • They may reserve the right of retributory action against the official.

    The New Germany George Young
  • I have already begun my retributory purposes, as I may call them.

  • It must be that God had a retributory end in view in that great event.

    Adle Dubois Mrs. William T. Savage
  • Spinoza could not regard the bad man as an object of Divine anger and a subject of retributory punishment.

    Short Studies on Great Subjects James Anthony Froude
  • Strange was this retributory fate which had brought these two into the most intimate relations of husband and wife.

    The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari James S. De Benneville
  • This doctrine has always appeared to me to present a theory of retributory compensation which is very acceptable.

    Thackerayana William Makepeace Thackeray
Word Origin and History for retributory



1670s, from retribute + -ive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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