verb re·tal·i·ate \ri-ˈta-lē-ˌāt\

: to do something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly : to get revenge against someone


Full Definition of RETALIATE

transitive verb
:  to repay (as an injury) in kind
intransitive verb
:  to return like for like; especially :  to get revenge
re·tal·i·a·tion \ri-ˌta-lē-ˈā-shən, ˌrē-\ noun
re·tal·i·a·tive \ri-ˈta-lē-ˌā-tiv\ adjective
re·tal·ia·to·ry \-ˈtal-yə-ˌtr-ē, -ˈta-lē-ə-\ adjective

Examples of RETALIATE

  1. After the company announced plans to reduce benefits, the union threatened to retaliate by calling for a strike.
  2. <retaliated his neighbor's malicious destruction of his flower garden by cutting down the man's prize apple tree>


Late Latin retaliatus, past participle of retaliare, from Latin re- + talio legal retaliation
First Known Use: 1611

Synonym Discussion of RETALIATE

reciprocate, retaliate, requite, return mean to give back usually in kind or in quantity. reciprocate implies a mutual or equivalent exchange or a paying back of what one has received <reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them for a visit>. retaliate usually implies a paying back of injury in exact kind, often vengefully <the enemy retaliated by executing their prisoners>. requite implies a paying back according to one's preference and often not equivalently <requited her love with cold indifference>. return implies a paying or giving back <returned their call> <return good for evil>.

Rhymes with RETALIATE

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, appropriate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, assimilate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, contaminate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, degenerate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, elaborate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, initiate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate
RETALIATION Defined for Kids


verb re·tal·i·ate \ri-ˈta-lē-ˌāt\

Definition of RETALIATE for Kids

:  to get revenge by returning like for like


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