[ ri-venj ]
/ rɪˈvɛndʒ /
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verb (used with object), re·venged, re·veng·ing.

to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit: He revenged his murdered brother.
to take vengeance for; inflict punishment for; avenge: He revenged his brother's murder.

verb (used without object), re·venged, re·veng·ing.

to take revenge.




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Origin of revenge

1350–1400; Middle English revengen (v.) <Middle French, Old French revenger, equivalent to re-re- + venger to avenge <Latin vindicāre;see vindicate

synonym study for revenge

1. See avenge. 4. Revenge, reprisal, retribution, vengeance suggest a punishment, or injury inflicted in return for one received. Revenge is the carrying out of a bitter desire to injure another for a wrong done to oneself or to those who are felt to be like oneself: to plot revenge. Reprisal, formerly any act of retaliation, is used specifically in warfare for retaliation upon the enemy for its (usually unlawful) actions: to make a raid in reprisal for one by the enemy. Retribution suggests just or deserved punishment, often without personal motives, for some evil done: a just retribution for wickedness. Vengeance is usually wrathful, vindictive, furious revenge: implacable vengeance.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


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.

The adjective revengeful is used to describe someone who is determined to get revenge or someone who is inclined to seek revenge—someone who is vindictive. A more commonly used synonym is vengeful.

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.

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What are some other forms related to revenge?

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.


Try using revenge!

True or False?

The word vengeance can be used as a synonym of revenge.

Example sentences from the Web for revenge

British Dictionary definitions for revenge

/ (rɪˈvɛndʒ) /


the act of retaliating for wrongs or injury received; vengeance
something done as a means of vengeance
the desire to take vengeance or retaliate
a return match, regarded as a loser's opportunity to even the score

verb (tr)

to inflict equivalent injury or damage for (injury received); retaliate in return for
to take vengeance for (oneself or another); avenge

Derived forms of revenge

revengeless, adjectiverevenger, nounrevenging, adjectiverevengingly, adverb

Word Origin for revenge

C14: from Old French revenger, from Late Latin revindicāre, from re- + vindicāre to vindicate
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
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