Definition of revenge in English:



mass noun
  • 1The action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.

    ‘other spurned wives have taken public revenge on their husbands’
    • ‘Sometimes they get your name wrong in revenge for you never having been to their church except once, drunk, at Christmas.’
    • ‘But in the tradition of revenge thrillers, they don't make absolutely sure that Frank is dead.’
    • ‘Steven McDonnell was insistent that there is no thoughts of a revenge mission next week.’
    • ‘Doune leapt at him down the stairs his great sword high above his head and was ready to chop the mage in two in revenge for nearly killing Eltriuqs.’
    • ‘Jay also has a real fascination with venereal disease, snorting cocaine and taking violent revenge on cheating women.’
    • ‘He then returned to his neighborhood and gathered his friends for a revenge attack.’
    • ‘So, in revenge for the killing of four American mercenaries, a city was seized, bombed, and a massacre of hundreds of civilians took place.’
    • ‘Sam soon discovers that what he writes comes true and decides to get sweet revenge on his tormentors.’
    • ‘Their intent is to exact revenge for a death or wrongdoing that took place in the past.’
    • ‘In both cases, death apparently feels as cheated as paying audiences and wants to exact a bloody revenge.’
    • ‘They told the judge that they killed Qmeil in revenge for the killings of six members of their clan a decade ago.’
    • ‘Sarah Monette is writing her doctoral thesis on ghosts in English Renaissance revenge tragedy.’
    • ‘Instead of taking revenge on his father's murderer, he joins his gang.’
    • ‘But as time went by, and there was no news of the men, I decided they were unlikely to bother taking the trouble and risk of searching me out in revenge for a minor setback.’
    • ‘He's got an enormous fortune, and he vows revenge on the enemies of his father.’
    • ‘When the kidnapping goes horribly wrong, everyone is left hurting and searching for revenge.’
    • ‘But you know what you do: just remember that living well is the best revenge.’
    • ‘Detectives will investigate whether the killing was in revenge for an assault allegedly carried out by Mr Curran on a young teenage girl on the northside.’
    • ‘Two charges of affray relating to incidents in February when he had been thrown out of clubs and returned for revenge saw him sentenced to 18 months to run consecutively, giving him a total ten years.’
    vengeance, retribution, retaliation, reprisal, requital, recrimination, an eye for an eye, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, tit for tat, measure for measure, getting even, redress, satisfaction, repayment, payback
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    1. 1.1 The desire to repay an injury or wrong.
      ‘it was difficult not to be overwhelmed with feelings of hate and revenge’
      • ‘Whether through an act of revenge or a genuine desire to check on the inner workings of the organisation, he has requested to see the financial records of the PGA Tour.’
      • ‘Try and think of a commercial of any sort that isn't based on greed, envy, fear, hatred, revenge, thrusting ambition, or sheer lust.’
      • ‘Police believe the attack could have been motivated by revenge.’
      • ‘The mother feels that he is motivated by revenge.’
      • ‘As revenge fantasies go, Alexandra's Project has almost nothing going for it.’
      • ‘No matter how hard you try to avoid collusion with the beast, eventually, you come to realize there's no way out of the cycle of revenge and desire.’
      • ‘Many of the stories are motivated by revenge, he adds.’
      vengefulness, vindictiveness, vitriol, virulence, spite, spitefulness, malice, maliciousness, malevolence, malignancy, ill will, animosity, antipathy, enmity, hostility, acrimony, venom, poison, hate, hatred, rancour, bitterness
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    2. 1.2 (in sporting contexts) the defeat of a person or team by whom one was beaten in a previous encounter.
      ‘Zimbabwe snatched the game 18–16, but the Spanish had their revenge later’
      • ‘Pintusevich-Block was out for revenge after narrowly losing to Jones in the 1997 final.’
      • ‘Bucks were outplayed by Silver Stars who took revenge for a previous defeat.’
      • ‘And Hartley knows they would love to gain revenge for September's back to back cup and league defeats against the Greens.’
      • ‘Who among us can wait for Owens' two games a year against the Eagles, to see if he can exact a measure of revenge on the team that made him pay?’
      • ‘League runner-up Bhinneka Sritex will be looking for revenge after their finals defeat against Aspac.’
      • ‘Saracens returned to second team championship fixtures after a four week gap with a trip to Park Lane hoping to gain revenge for a narrow defeat at Cross Green earlier in the season.’
      • ‘The Bombers took revenge in the rematch, 24-17, and went on to win the national title.’
      • ‘Smith ached for revenge after a heartbreaking defeat his junior year.’
      • ‘For Eriksson there is some hope of sporting revenge over the man whose Brazil side won the 2002 World Cup quarter-final meeting.’
      • ‘Keighley travel to Sheffield a week on Sunday looking for revenge for two defeats at the Don Valley Stadium last season.’
      • ‘As White wryly remarks, the Irish have been talking about revenge since they lost in Bloemfontein and Cape Town and should not need to be motivated more than they already are.’
      • ‘Mugeyi capped his resurgent form with an acrobatic diving winning headed-goal in the 55th minute to earn his side sweet revenge against the Limpopo team.’
      • ‘Energized by hosting a Monday night game, the Eagles will exact some prime-time revenge against the team that routed them in Week 5.’
      • ‘The effort also provided McCarty with revenge against the team made him a first-round pick in 1991 but gave up on him in 1995.’
      • ‘Will the team get its revenge in its new home this season?’
      • ‘One of his losses was to Akira Oguchi, on whom he gained his revenge when he knocked the Japanese boxer out in five rounds in Bangkok in September 1961.’
      • ‘In the relay, the Americans got sweet revenge for a five-second defeat to the Aussies four years ago in Sydney, while Italy took bronze.’
      • ‘This should be a cracking encounter with Enniscrone seeking revenge for last year's defeat by Calry in the quarter final of the competition.’
      • ‘They will be hell-bent on revenge after losing to Bradford on the final day of last season at Northcliffe.’
      • ‘Bolton Woods A gained revenge for their home defeat by Bradford Tigers A in under-eight Group C of the Keybury League.’


revenge oneself" or "be revenged
  • 1Inflict hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong done to oneself.

    ‘I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you’
    • ‘But then, given their penchant for revenging themselves on their enemies by holding them down and nailing their knees to the floor, perhaps no-one wanted to give offence by bestowing on them the wrong sort of nickname.’
    • ‘Possessed by morbid drives that defy easy psychological analysis, they pursued a revolutionary domestic policy, not because they had any faith in its merits but in order to be revenged on their enemies and consolidate their power.’
    • ‘Once started, this violence becomes cumulative, especially in a society where the dead must be revenged, and in the light of a failing State.’
    • ‘Yes, it will follow, and may the wrongs which Irishmen have suffered be revenged both soon and sudden.’
    • ‘This is what traps them in their cage: None of them thinks about running away or revenging themselves upon the ‘normal’ members of society.’
    take revenge on, exact revenge on, wreak revenge on, get one's revenge on, avenge oneself on, take vengeance on, get even with, settle a score with, settle the score with, get, pay back, pay out, retaliate against, retaliate on, take reprisals against, exact retribution on, let someone see how it feels, give someone their just deserts, give someone a dose of their own medicine, give someone a taste of their own medicine, give as good as one gets
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    1. 1.1with object Inflict revenge on behalf of (someone else)
      ‘it's a pity he chose that way to revenge his sister’
      • ‘He acted to revenge the mother of his child and their son.’
      • ‘And when I do eventually get the chance to revenge Jenny, I'm not going to hide behind a gun.’
      • ‘In the original script, the bad guy was actually revenging the hero for something which happened in their childhood.’
      • ‘The only difference was that we did it to do justice and revenge the innocent victims.’
      • ‘One in five of the pilots in the Battle of Britain came from overseas and, far from fighting for an Arcadian Britain, some were revenging the invasion of their homelands.’
      • ‘Looks like revenging her victims wasn't your only objective.’
      • ‘Will no one revenge us of the injuries we have sustained from these turbulent priests?’
      • ‘He told me he was thinking of ‘going back to the mountains’, as they say, to join the paramilitaries and revenge his brother.’
      • ‘His ill-treatment of her relatives is surely the quickest way to revenge her.’
      • ‘Stand in as pretend boyfriend when necessary - that includes revenging me to large scary looking men on dark nights.’
      • ‘But it's even worse than for Hamlet, that Orestes has to revenge his father by killing his mother.’
      • ‘She has to dress as a man to survive in the ruthless and self-centred world of the panners and fend off all kinds of unwanted, and hilarious, attentions as she bravely strives to get her man and revenge her family.’
      • ‘Of course tomorrow I would revenge her innocently.’
      • ‘You lived to revenge your father against Seth, who betrayed and slew him.’
      • ‘Originally Hotta was among those who joined Kuranosuke Oishi in the plot to revenge their lord; however, in the end, he renounced his vow and took a new name.’
      • ‘Be sure that sooner or later someone will try to revenge him.’
      • ‘They wanted to revenge their father and they had secretly trained themselves for this moment.’
      • ‘She has also asked him to not engage in any other activities till he revenges her against this giant.’
      • ‘‘Finally I have revenged my family and country,’ I yelled.’
      • ‘She eventually comes to the decision that her children should be killed in order to revenge Jason for what he did to her.’
    2. 1.2 Inflict retribution for (a wrong or injury done to oneself or another)
      ‘her brother was slain, and she revenged his death’
      • ‘As they are about to take their leave, Don Quijote offers thanks to the innkeeper and offers to revenge any wrongs ever done to him.’
      • ‘Although you have a certain amount of freedom, the game centres on a main quest - revenging your father's murder, finding your mother and sister - and various side quests.’
      • ‘His commitment to revenge the death of his people was struck short by his own death in the next measles epidemic, five years later.’
      • ‘Pacorus, the son of Orodes, the King of Parthia, has been killed in order to revenge the death of Marcus Crassus.’
      • ‘The central character is Vendice, intent on revenging the death of his mistress, poisoned by the lecherous old duke.’
      • ‘I lay dead in front of you, and yet you do not even revenge my death.’
      • ‘As far as Hamlet was concerned, revenging a death was the best reason for an assassination.’
      • ‘The truth eventually emerges: her father died in the communalist rioting of 1984, during which mobs killed thousands of Sikhs, claiming to be revenging the death of Indira Gandhi at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards.’
      • ‘I wish it were not so, but I have resolved to revenge my father's death, and it is you who have taken him from me!’
      • ‘Thus the recent run of Irish victories ended and last year's desperately disappointing draw gloriously revenged.’
      • ‘The leaders of the rival gang are looking over their shoulders for the Westies, who have yet to revenge the murder of Bernard Sugg, brother of Stephen, last August.’
      • ‘You know they will revenge the death of one of their own.’
      • ‘What was the use of revenging his death upon a man who was as much stricken by that death as I was?’
      • ‘When they plan to send him to a military school, Ivan demands to be sent back to the front, seeking to revenge his parents' death.’
      • ‘Seemingly possessed by his hands, he becomes a murderer, choking friends and foe alike, vaguely seeking to revenge the death of Meta's father.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, the foothills of the mountains, where the Soga brothers once revenged their father's death, are now a resort area with winter skiing and other sport activities.’
      • ‘Ryan held his brother for many moments before standing up to revenge his death.’
      • ‘His primary motivation is to revenge the deaths of his fallen comrades.’
      • ‘His quest for justice begins in his ‘O eyes, no eyes’ soliloquy where he begs heaven to revenge his son's death.’
      • ‘He is the wildly popular or beloved hero who revenges wrongs against the nation.’
      avenge, exact revenge for, take revenge for, make retaliation for, retaliate for, exact retribution for, take reprisals for, get redress for, get satisfaction for
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  • revenge is a dish best served (or eaten) cold

    • proverb Vengeance is often more satisfying if it is not exacted immediately.

      • ‘If C. Montgomery Burns is right and revenge is a dish best served cold, this may be one of Jenkins' most delicious years ever.’
      • ‘Eventually, after being distracted by an unnecessary subplot about goings-on in Vegas, Jack unravels the cover-up and starts proving that revenge is a dish best served cold.’
      • ‘If revenge is a dish best served cold, then how come the Nets were so damn hot against the Lakers?’
      • ‘However, revenge is a dish best eaten cold, preferably not eaten at all, as it ranks as probably the nastiest emotion to which humanity is heir.’
      • ‘If revenge is a dish best served cold, there's nowhere more chilled than the grave.’
      • ‘You know, He-Man, they say revenge is a dish best served cold, but I would much rather serve it hot.’
      • ‘The factions have long memories and revenge is a dish best served cold.’
      • ‘If revenge is a dish best eaten cold, Clive Woodward was enjoying his morsel out of the deep freeze last night.’
      • ‘If revenge is a dish best served cold, it was only appropriate that Arsenal's first goal came from Vieira.’
      • ‘Whoever said that revenge is a dish best served cold didn't know what the hell they were talking about.’


Late Middle English: from Old French revencher, from late Latin revindicare, from re- (expressing intensive force) + vindicare ‘claim, avenge’.