retaliate

verb
re·​tal·​i·​ate | \ ri-ˈta-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce retaliate (audio) \
retaliated; retaliating

Definition of retaliate

intransitive verb

: to return like for like especially : to get revenge

transitive verb

: to repay in kind retaliate an injury

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Other Words from retaliate

retaliation \ ri-​ˌta-​lē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce retaliation (audio) , ˌrē-​ \ noun
retaliative \ ri-​ˈta-​lē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce retaliative (audio) \ adjective
retaliatory \ ri-​ˈtal-​yə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce retaliatory (audio) , -​ˈta-​lē-​ə-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for retaliate

Synonyms

avenge, redress, requite, revenge, venge [archaic]

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of retaliate in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Johnson said the department increased the number of uniformed officers on the street — targeting areas where police expected gang members to retaliate for previous shootings. Don Babwin, Twin Cities, "Chicago police: 44 injured, 8 killed in weekend shootings," 3 June 2019 Gentle Giant’ refused to retaliate, instead giving the Eastern Europeans a lesson in how to behave with grace under pressure. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 2 Days to Go - What if the John Charles Was Fully Fit for the 1958 World Cup?," 12 June 2018 Apart from pinprick cross-border raids by small numbers of troops, India has not retaliated militarily against terrorist safe havens in Pakistan or the troops that protect them. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Pakistan-Based Jihadists Kill 40, and Indians Demand a Response," 21 Feb. 2019 Put aside the cruelty and inhumanity of using asylum seekers as pawns to retaliate against political foes. Rachael Bade, The Seattle Times, "Trump: Administration giving ‘strong considerations’ to releasing detainees in ‘sanctuary cities’," 12 Apr. 2019 After enduring years of abuse, Gypsy retaliated by conspiring with her Internet boyfriend to kill her mother and run away together. Glamour, "The Best True-Crime TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now," 28 Mar. 2019 Cardi B has officially joined the cast of Hustlers, an upcoming film focusing on a group of former strip club employees who retaliate against their rich Wall Street clientele. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cardi B Is Joining J.Lo, Constance Wu, and More in a Film About Scamming Strip Club Employees," 19 Mar. 2019 What had happened was that, after President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia in response to their interference with the 2016 election, Flynn got in touch with Kislyak and urged Russia not to retaliate. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Judge rakes Michael Flynn over the coals in sentencing hearing," 18 Dec. 2018 All told, Trump has threatened eventually to slap tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports — more than China actually exported to the United States last year — if Beijing won't relent to U.S. pressure and continues to retaliate. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "US prepares to impose new tariffs on additional $200B worth of Chinese goods," 2 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retaliate.' 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 retaliate

1606, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for retaliate

Late Latin retaliatus, past participle of retaliare, from Latin re- + talio legal retaliation

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Statistics for retaliate

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retaliate

The first known use of retaliate was in 1606

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More Definitions for retaliate

retaliate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of retaliate

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

retaliate

verb
re·​tal·​i·​ate | \ ri-ˈta-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce retaliate (audio) \
retaliated; retaliating

Kids Definition of retaliate

: to get revenge by returning like for like

retaliate

intransitive verb
re·​tal·​i·​ate | \ ri-ˈta-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce retaliate (audio) \
retaliated; retaliating

Legal Definition of retaliate

: to act in revenge

Other Words from retaliate

retaliation \ -​ˌta-​lē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce retaliation (audio) \ noun
retaliative \ -​ˈta-​lē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce retaliative (audio) \ adjective
retaliatory \ -​ˈtal-​yə-​ˌtōr-​ē How to pronounce retaliatory (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on retaliate

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