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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

Synonyms for retaliate

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

Related Words for retaliative

punishing, vindictive, disciplinary, penal, retaliatory, revengeful, correctional, retaliative

Examples from the Web for retaliative

Historical Examples of retaliative

  • The idea of retaliative measures was a product of the brain of Jeff Davis.

    Company G

    A. R. (Albert Rowe) Barlow

  • The most ancient punishment in English law was retaliative—membrum pro membro, but ultimately at common law fine and imprisonment.

British Dictionary definitions for retaliative


  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 for retaliate

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 retaliative



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