Definition of retaliation in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The action of returning a military attack; counter-attack.

    ‘the bombings are believed to be in retaliation for the trial of 15 suspects’
    • ‘During the Cold War, NATO's strongest deterrent against Soviet aggression was the threat of nuclear retaliation.’
    • ‘But there was no decision to use chemical weapons for fear of retaliation.’
    • ‘Israel launched the latest operation in retaliation against an attack on an Israeli convoy in which a total of 13 Israeli soldiers were killed.’
    • ‘They were simply retaliation for Americans burning down the Canadian capital of Ontario.’
    • ‘Another $300 m will go to Libyan victims of US air strikes ordered in retaliation for the disco bombing, which killed two American soldiers.’
    • ‘Hakimullah Mehsud, an aide of Pakistan's Taliban chief, Baitullah Mehsud, said the attack was retaliation for the operations in Swat.’
    • ‘The security personnel then resorted to aerial firing to scare away the rioters, which prompted the Taliban militia to fire back in retaliation.’
    • ‘The insurgent terrorists have launched a day of mayhem across parts of Iraq in retaliation for the assault on Fallujah.’
    • ‘Al Jazeera's reporter puts the bombings in the context of a retaliation for an earlier assassination by Israelis of a Hamas leader.’
    • ‘The settlements are the original violence to which all Palestinian action is a retaliation.’
    • ‘There is only one answer to an act of war, an act of peace; understanding not retaliation.’
    • ‘He also pointed out the likelihood of potential retaliation by terrorist groups in the face of US air strikes in Afghanistan.’
    • ‘The captured coast watchers were beheaded by the Japanese in retaliation for an American air raid on Betio.’
    • ‘Israel has started shelling Gaza City in retaliation for a Palestinian raid on the Israeli border that killed two civilians.’
    • ‘Retaliation could easily lead to a tit-for-tat escalation that would be difficult to halt short of general war.’
    • ‘The civilian minority ' empowered ' by you will require heavy US military protection to withstand retaliation.’
    • ‘In the past, Israel has launched military offensives in retaliation for major Palestinian attacks.’
    • ‘US military retaliation is likely to further damage confidence in international travel.’
    • ‘They were I guess in the process of going back a third time in order to get the WTO to authorise retaliation.’
    revenge, vengeance, reprisal, retribution, requital, recrimination, getting even, redress, repayment, payback
    response, reaction, reply, reciprocation, counterattack, counterstroke, comeback, tit for tat, measure for measure, blow for blow
    lex talionis
    ultion, a roland for an oliver
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The action of harming someone because they have harmed oneself; revenge.
      ‘she rejected as preposterous any suggestion that she had acted in retaliation’
      • ‘Justice will not be rendered; only retaliation can be expected.’
      • ‘Obviously, the revealing investigative reports into the dark side of society triggered the retaliation.’
      • ‘Professor Rodriguez had been horrified by all the calls for massive retaliation: " Not in my son's name you don't.’
      • ‘Enraged by the retaliation, the Lady hit her sister twice across the forehead.’
      • ‘In the case of community policing, there is often the additional cost of possible retaliation from criminals in the community.’
      • ‘Anyway, I'm feeling a bit guilty now about the loud guitar feedback that was my retaliation.’
      • ‘In retaliation of the threats, Roseanne herself had threatened to leave the network, taking her highly-rated series with her.’
      • ‘The soldiers who spoke to the newspaper chose to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation from the Pentagon.’
      • ‘In retaliation, a member of the Khazraj tribe paid a Jew to smack the face of the Bedouin.’
      • ‘They don't want to speak out for fear of losing their business through governmental retaliation.’
      • ‘Lorien thought darkly, to be able to hold hands, to kiss, to say I love you out loud without fear of retaliation.’
      • ‘The lockout was in retaliation against industrial bans imposed by employees for a 15 percent pay increase over three years.’
      • ‘A Catholic teenager was stabbed in North Belfast in retaliation for a similar attack on loyalist bandsmen earlier in the week.’
      • ‘Dent to resign in retaliation for their efforts to bring financial problems to light.’
      • ‘The European Commission has already drawn up two lists of goods it intends to hit in retaliation for the US steel tariff.’
      • ‘The Americans have not executed prisoners in retaliation for assassinations.’
      • ‘A specimen of the practical nature of his retaliation occurred early in 1859.’
      • ‘Evidently, power or class differentiation precludes such direct retaliation.’
      • ‘Several other students did not want their names used for fear of retaliation.’
      • ‘Hitters dig in, knowing they need not worry about retaliation.’