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See more synonyms for retaliate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), re·tal·i·at·ed, re·tal·i·at·ing.
  1. to return like for like, especially evil for evil: to retaliate for an injury.
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verb (used with object), re·tal·i·at·ed, re·tal·i·at·ing.
  1. to requite or make return for (a wrong or injury) with the like.
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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 formsre·tal·i·a·tive, re·tal·i·a·to·ry [ri-tal-ee-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /rɪˈtæl i əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivere·tal·i·a·tor, nounun·re·tal·i·at·ed, adjectiveun·re·tal·i·at·ing, adjectiveun·re·tal·i·a·tive, adjectiveun·re·tal·i·a·to·ry, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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.

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



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

British Dictionary definitions for retaliate


  1. (intr) to take retributory action, esp by returning some injury or wrong in kind
  2. (intr) to cast (accustations) back upon a person
  3. (tr) rare to avenge (an injury, wrong, etc)
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Derived Formsretaliation, nounretaliative or retaliatory, adjectiveretaliator, 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

Word Origin and History for retaliate


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper