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

Synonyms for retaliate

Synonyms

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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 Now, experts say that lawmakers could retaliate by further targeting Facebook. Michelle Toh, CNN, "How Facebook managed to 'unfriend' Australia while Google came out on top," 18 Feb. 2021 For now, Iran has chosen to not retaliate for the assassinations, but that decision could change on a dime as hard-liners turn up pressure. Tracy Wilkinson Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Biden’s test: Rebuilding the Iran nuclear deal Trump tore apart," 21 Dec. 2020 For now, Iran has chosen to not retaliate for the assassinations, but that decision could change on a dime as hard-liners turn up pressure. Tracy Wilkinson And Los Angeles Times December 21, Star Tribune, "Biden's test: Rebuilding Iran nuke deal Trump tore apart," 21 Dec. 2020 Those operatives had been on a mission to retaliate for Israel’s earlier assassinations of nuclear scientists but had failed. Washington Post, "After nuclear scientist’s brazen killing, Iran is torn over a response — restraint or fury?," 3 Dec. 2020 Fighting started in Tigray on Nov. 4 after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the army to retaliate for an alleged attack by the region’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front on a federal army camp. Simon Marks, Bloomberg.com, "Ethiopians Donate Blood, Money to Back Incursion in Rebel Region," 12 Nov. 2020 What may have been more sobering to Schumer and his colleagues was the threat that the Senate Republicans would retaliate to the decision to call witnesses by obstructing the Democratic agenda in the future. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Botched Democratic Effort to Convict Donald Trump," 13 Feb. 2021 Trump’s order could also prompt China to retaliate, damaging Apple even further. Fortune, "Trump’s WeChat ban could hurt iPhone sales in China," 7 Aug. 2020 That attack later saw Iran retaliate by launching a ballistic missile strike injuring dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq. Jon Gambrell, ajc, "Iran plans 20% uranium enrichment 'as soon as possible'," 2 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for retaliate

Time Traveler

The first known use of retaliate was in 1606

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Statistics for retaliate

Last Updated

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Retaliate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retaliate. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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

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Comments on retaliate

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