characterized by or involving retribution: retributive justice.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retributory

Historical Examples of retributory

  • They may reserve the right of retributory action against the official.

    The New Germany

    George Young

  • I have already begun my retributory purposes, as I may call them.

  • It must be that God had a retributory end in view in that great event.

    Adle Dubois

    Mrs. William T. Savage

  • Spinoza could not regard the bad man as an object of Divine anger and a subject of retributory punishment.

  • Strange was this retributory fate which had brought these two into the most intimate relations of husband and wife.

Word Origin and History for retributory



1670s, from retribute + -ive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper