verb (used with object), re·venged, re·veng·ing.
verb (used without object), re·venged, re·veng·ing.
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Origin of revenge
synonym study for revenge
OTHER WORDS FROM revenge
Words nearby revenge
What does revenge mean?
Revenge is the act or process of retaliating against or punishing someone for some kind of harm that they caused or wrongdoing that they did (whether real or perceived).
It can also refer to the result of such efforts, as in After all this time, I will have revenge against those who have wronged me!
Revenge often involves an attempt to get even by inflicting similar harm to the person who initially harmed the person seeking revenge. Revenge has several other synonyms that each have different shades of meaning, including retribution, retaliation, and reprisal. But more than these words, revenge implies that such retaliation is personal and motivated by a deep anger and perhaps an obsessive desire to get even.
Revenge is often planned out over a period of time—hitting someone back right after they hit you could be referred to as retaliation, but probably wouldn’t be called revenge. An informal synonym is payback—getting someone back for something they did to you, especially after time has passed.
The related word vengeance can be used as an even more intense synonym for revenge, but it also commonly refers to a desire for revenge, as in He was filled with vengeance.
Less commonly, revenge can be used as a verb meaning to get revenge, as in I will revenge the theft of my sister’s necklace or I will revenge myself for the crimes committed against me.
The related word avenge is much more commonly used in this way. To avenge is to get revenge or to inflict some form of punishment in retaliation for harm or wrongdoing done by someone else. However, avenge is more associated with justice and doesn’t always imply the same level of anger that revenge does.
Example: Revenge never ends well, and becoming obsessed with it is like letting your enemy defeat you yet again.
Where does revenge come from?
The first records of the word revenge come from the 1300s. It comes from the Old French revenger, from the Late Latin revindicāre, from the Latin verb vindicāre, meaning “to protect,” “to avenge,” or “to punish.” The words vengeance, avenge, vindicate, and vindictive are all based on the same root. The re- in revenge and synonyms like retribution, retaliation, and reprisal indicates that these things are done in response or reaction to another action.
The word revenge appears in the expression Revenge is a dish best served cold. This means that revenge is more satisfying when it’s inflicted upon someone long after they committed the original wrongdoing, perhaps because it will then be more unexpected. However, there is another saying: Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. This suggests that even if you are successful in getting revenge, you will destroy yourself in the process.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to revenge?
- revengeful (adjective)
- revenger (noun)
What are some synonyms for revenge?
What are some words that share a root or word element with revenge?
What are some words that often get used in discussing revenge?
What are some words ø may be commonly confused with?
How is revenge used in real life?
The word revenge is usually used in situations that involve serious wrongdoing, but it’s sometimes used in the context of less serious situations in order to be humorous.
I’m never interested in seeking revenge, I let karma handle that
— 777 (@legend_tallia) November 22, 2020
A gentle reminder: The best revenge is no revenge. Heal. Move on. Find happiness.
— Shondaland Digital (@byshondaland) November 20, 2020
As we approach the end of another year it's important to take stock, reflect, and start plotting your revenge on all those who have wronged you over the last 12 months. pic.twitter.com/7zInpKlQIS
— alistair green (@mralistairgreen) December 16, 2018
Try using revenge!
True or False?
The word vengeance can be used as a synonym of revenge.
Example sentences from the Web for revenge
These individuals could not fight back in real life, so they’d later use their computers to get a fictional revenge.How Indiana Jones, Rambo, and others ended up in 1980s Czechoslovak text-adventures|Ars Staff|October 23, 2020|Ars Technica
They weren’t looking for revenge, said Chandler Pappas, who was standing just behind his friend Danielson when Reinoehl shot him.New Eyewitness Accounts: Feds Didn’t Identify Themselves Before Opening Fire on Portland Antifa Suspect|by Bryan Denson for ProPublica and Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting|October 13, 2020|ProPublica
We can easily see how the desire for vengeance may motivate someone to believe that revenge is morally appropriate, or the desire for wealth may motivate someone to believe that inequalities are justified, whether or not these moral claims are true.The Universe Knows Right from Wrong - Issue 89: The Dark Side|Philip Goff|September 9, 2020|Nautilus
It’s a story of a woman who decides she has, at last, had enough of the abusive, stifling, cruel men she must live with — her domineering father-in-law and dissipated husband — and takes her revenge.
In a fit of rage and revenge, his father Izanagi proceeded to lop off Kagutsuchi’s head – and the spilled blood led to the creation of even more kami, including martial thunder gods, mountain gods, and even a dragon god.12 Major Japanese Gods and Goddesses You Should Know About|Dattatreya Mandal|May 6, 2020|Realm of History
In their past calls for attacks on Western targets, AQAP has focused on putting bombs on planes, not revenge attacks.U.S. Spies See Al Qaeda Fingerprints on Paris Massacre|Shane Harris, Nancy A. Youssef|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Only one other Star Wars film has earned a PG-13 rating, the 2005 prequel Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.Juiciest ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Rumors (and Some Debunked Ones)|Rich Goldstein|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
If they really wanted to get revenge they should have gone to Staten Island and found the cops that killed Eric Garner.
Bloodthirsty calls for revenge have filled Facebook and Twitter.Two Days After School Attack, Pakistan Court Lets Terrorists Walk Free|Chris Allbritton|December 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
To hurt them at their safe haven and homes—such an attack is perfect revenge.Taliban: We Slaughtered 100+ Kids Because Their Parents Helped America|Sami Yousafzai|December 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
All immediate danger having now been dispelled, the Spaniards solaced themselves with the sweets of revenge.The Philippine Islands|John Foreman
Gourges fitted out three vessels and 150 soldiers at his own expense to revenge their death, and repair the honor of his nation.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
Every word she breathed, every anathema she denounced, seemed urged by the quick revenge of Duke Wharton!
Humanity must bench with justice; or punishment itself becomes crime, and degenerates into revenge.
But it should not be by embracing revenge through the treasons, whose arms were extended to receive and to avenge him.