re·​quite | \ ri-ˈkwīt How to pronounce requite (audio) \
requited; requiting

Definition of requite

transitive verb

1a : to make return for : repay
b : to make retaliation for : avenge
2 : to make suitable return to for a benefit or service or for an injury

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Other Words from requite

requiter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for requite

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

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You might be familiar with the phrase "unrequited love." Love that has not been requited is love that has not been returned or paid back in kind, which brings us to the common denominator in the above definitions for "requite"-the idea of repayment, recompense, or retribution. The "quite" in "requite" is a now obsolete English verb meaning "to set free, discharge, or repay." ("Quite" is also related to the English verb "quit," the oldest meanings of which include "to pay up" and "to set free.") "Quiten," the Middle English source of "quite," can be traced back through Anglo-French to Latin quietus ("quiet" or "at rest"), a word which is also an ancestor of the English word quiet.

Examples of requite in a Sentence

the company requited the employee who had fallen on the ice while leaving work by promptly paying all his medical bills, hoping that would stave off a lawsuit the future writer would later requite the abuse he suffered at the hands of his classmates by creating scathing portraits of them in his novels
Recent Examples on the Web The Heat will continue to requite masks for fans in attendance and will continue to encourage social distancing. Ira Winderman,, 17 May 2021 Instead, the inciting incidents are all common or garden-variety romantic mishaps — infidelity, unplanned pregnancies, feelings undeclared lest they're not requited. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Jan. 2020 View Sample Sign Up Now Love, whether requited or not, can be a killer. Joshunda Sanders, Time, 19 Sep. 2019 When the universal longing is finally requited, there is a sense of nationwide relief, bringing with it an almost immediate respite from the terrible heat. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2019 The story, about a pair of orphaned sisters from Australia and their lifelong loves, requited and otherwise, is undeniably tragic. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2018 That brotherly love, though, has yet to be fully requited with a Super Bowl title, something the Eagles finally will try to attain Sunday against New England. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Jan. 2018 As the two wives, Stine and Summerfield conjure in moving ways with love reluctantly requited. Jim Rutter,, 9 Oct. 2017 Lisa Larson-Walker Last week saw the publication of Slate columnist Rebecca Schuman’s Schadenfreude, A Love Story, a funny and winning account of the writer’s not-entirely-requited crush on German culture. Gabriel Roth, Slate Magazine, 16 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'requite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of requite

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for requite

re- + obsolete quite to quit, pay, from Middle English quiten — more at quit entry 1

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Time Traveler for requite

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The first known use of requite was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

20 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Requite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for requite



English Language Learners Definition of requite

formal : to give or do something in return for (something that another person has given or done)

More from Merriam-Webster on requite

Britannica English: Translation of requite for Arabic Speakers


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