Simple Definition of retribution
: punishment for doing something wrong
Examples of retribution in a sentence
The elastic-faced Ruck is a real find: his Cameron is a guilt-ridden, father-dominated nerd almost paralyzed with fear of parental retribution. —David Ansen, Newsweek, 16 June 1986
The two purposes that sustain the death penalty … in the Court's view are general deterrence and retribution. —Thurgood Marshall, Gregg v. Georgia, 1976
“…As for Cordelia, she went insane with remorse and was shut up in a lunatic asylum. I thought that was a poetical retribution for her crime.” —Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908
The killer acted without fear of retribution.
<the neighborhood is being torn apart by an endless cycle of gang violence and retribution>
Did You Know?
With its prefix re-, meaning "back", retribution means literally "payback". And indeed we usually use it when talking about personal revenge, whether it's retribution for an insult in a high-school corridor or retribution for a guerrilla attack on a government building. But retribution isn't always so personal: God takes "divine retribution" on humans several times in the Old Testament, especially in the great Flood that wipes out almost the entire human race. And retribution for criminal acts, usually in the form of a prison sentence, is taken by the state, not the victims.
Origin and Etymology of retribution
Middle English retribucioun, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin retribution-, retributio, from Latin retribuere to pay back, from re- + tribuere to pay — more at tribute
First Known Use: 14th century
RETRIBUTION Defined for Kids
Legal Definition of retribution
: punishment imposed (as on a convicted criminal) for purposes of repayment or revenge for the wrong committed
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