[ ven-juhns ]
/ ˈvɛn dʒəns /
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infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person; violent revenge: But have you the right to vengeance?
an act or opportunity of inflicting such trouble: to take one's vengeance.
the desire for revenge: a man full of vengeance.
Obsolete. hurt; injury.
Obsolete. curse; imprecation.
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Idioms about vengeance

    with a vengeance,
    1. with force or violence.
    2. greatly; extremely.
    3. to an unreasonable, excessive, or surprising degree: He attacked the job with a vengeance.

Origin of vengeance

1250–1300; Middle English <Old French, equivalent to vengi(er) to avenge (see venge) + -ance-ance

synonym study for vengeance

1. See revenge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does vengeance mean?

Vengeance is a desire for revengeretaliation against or punishment of someone for some kind of harm that they caused or wrongdoing that they did (whether real or perceived).

It can also be used as an even more intense synonym for revenge.

Vengeance often involves deep anger and a perhaps obsessive desire to get even by inflicting similar harm to the person who initially harmed the person seeking revenge. When it means the same thing as revenge, vengeance is often planned out over a period of time.

The related adjective vengeful is used to describe someone who is determined to seek vengeance or someone who is inclined to seek vengeance—someone who is vindictive.

The phrase with a vengeance means with great violence or intensity, as in My allergies have come back with a vengeance—I’ve been sneezing all day. 

Example: The vengeance in your heart will eat away at you, which is like letting your enemy defeat you yet again.

Where does vengeance come from?

The first records of the word vengeance come from the 1200s. It comes from the Old French venger, meaning “to avenge,” from the Latin verb vindicāre, meaning “to protect,” “to avenge,” or “to punish.” The words revenge, avenge, vindicate, and vindictive are all based on the same root. The suffix -ance is used to form nouns.

Vengeance implies an intensity to one’s desire for revenge. It’s often used alongside words like fury and wrath in accounts of those who have been wronged in some way. The phrase “Vengeance is mine” comes from a Bible verse advising people not to seek revenge.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for vengeance?

What are some words that share a root or word element with vengeance



What are some words that often get used in discussing vengeance?

How is vengeance used in real life?

The word vengeance 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 vengeance!

True or False?

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

How to use vengeance in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vengeance

/ (ˈvɛndʒəns) /

the act of or desire for taking revenge; retributive punishment
with a vengeance (intensifier)the 70's have returned with a vengeance

Word Origin for vengeance

C13: from Old French, from venger to avenge, from Latin vindicāre to punish; see 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with vengeance


see with a vengeance.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.