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See more synonyms for retributive on Thesaurus.com
  1. characterized by or involving retribution: retributive justice.
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Also retrib·u·to·ry [ri-trib-yuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /rɪˈtrɪb yəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/.

Origin of retributive

1670–80; obsolete retribute to make retribution (< Latin retribūtus; see retribution) + -ive
Related formsre·trib·u·tive·ly, adverbun·re·trib·u·tive, adjectiveun·re·trib·u·to·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for retributive

punitive, corrective, punishing, reformatory, retributive

Examples from the Web for retributive

Historical Examples of retributive

  • In the moral elevation of her soul it seemed like an act of retributive justice.

    The Eternal City

    Hall Caine

  • There was a retributive justice for all those who infracted the rules of the game.

    'Firebrand' Trevison

    Charles Alden Seltzer

  • The wrath of man has worked out the retributive justice of God.

  • The retributive stroke, swift and visible, is not needed to declare this.

  • Nothing but the hand of a retributive Providence can avail to reach them.

    A Defence of Virginia

    Robert L. Dabney

Word Origin and History for retributive


1670s, from retribute + -ive.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper