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[ri-venj] /rɪˈvɛndʒ/
verb (used with object), revenged, revenging.
to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit:
He revenged his murdered brother.
to take vengeance for; inflict punishment for; avenge:
He revenged his brother's murder.
verb (used without object), revenged, revenging.
to take revenge.
the act of revenging; retaliation for injuries or wrongs; vengeance.
something done in vengeance.
the desire to revenge; vindictiveness.
an opportunity to retaliate or gain satisfaction.
Origin of revenge
1350-1400; Middle English revengen (v.) < Middle French, Old French revenger, equivalent to re- re- + venger to avenge < Latin vindicāre; see vindicate
Related forms
revengeless, adjective
revenger, noun
revengingly, adverb
nonrevenge, noun
nonrevenger, noun
prerevenge, noun, verb (used with object), prerevenged, prerevenging.
unrevenged, adjective
unrevenging, adjective
4. requital.
Synonym Study
1. See avenge. 4.Revenge, reprisal, retribution, vengeance suggest a punishment, or injury inflicted in return for one received. Revenge is the carrying out of a bitter desire to injure another for a wrong done to oneself or to those who are felt to be like oneself: to plot revenge. Reprisal, formerly any act of retaliation, is used specifically in warfare for retaliation upon the enemy for its (usually unlawful) actions: to make a raid in reprisal for one by the enemy. Retribution suggests just or deserved punishment, often without personal motives, for some evil done: a just retribution for wickedness. Vengeance is usually wrathful, vindictive, furious revenge: implacable vengeance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for revenge
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In one case I should have my revenge; in another case I should have my liberty.

    The Europeans Henry James
  • This was the way, then, that he intended taking his revenge!

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • Surely if revenge is a 'kind of Justice,' it is a 'wild' kind!

    The French Revolution Thomas Carlyle
  • Blood revenge was nothing but an exercise of revenge and it had all the limitations of revenge.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Notwithstanding this catastrophe, the five guns opposed to the revenge continued their fire, and kept it up to the last.

British Dictionary definitions for revenge


the act of retaliating for wrongs or injury received; vengeance
something done as a means of vengeance
the desire to take vengeance or retaliate
a return match, regarded as a loser's opportunity to even the score
verb (transitive)
to inflict equivalent injury or damage for (injury received); retaliate in return for
to take vengeance for (oneself or another); avenge
Derived Forms
revengeless, adjective
revenger, noun
revenging, adjective
revengingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French revenger, from Late Latin revindicāre, from re- + vindicāre to vindicate
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 revenge

late 14c., from Old French revengier, variant of revenchier "take revenge, avenge" (13c., Modern French revancher), from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + vengier "take revenge," from Latin vindicare "to lay claim to, avenge, punish" (see vindicate).

To avenge is "to get revenge" or "to take vengeance"; it suggests the administration of just punishment for a criminal or immoral act. Revenge seems to stress the idea of retaliation a bit more strongly and implies real hatred as its motivation. ["The Columbia Guide to Standard American English," 1993]


1540s, from Middle French revenge, back-formation from revengier (see revenge (v.)).


1540s, from Middle French revenge, back-formation from revengier (see revenge (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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