- an ideal distribution of rewards and punishments such as is common in some poetry and fiction.
Origin of poetic justice
First recorded in 1720–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- fitting retribution; just deserts
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
An outcome in which virtue is rewarded and evil punished, often in an especially appropriate or ironic manner. For example, It was poetic justice for the known thief to go to jail for the one crime he didn't commit. [Early 1700s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.