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

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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 Congress eventually fired Hopkins, who retaliated by having two of the officers jailed. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "Whistleblowers walk among us. Now one has gotten in Trump’s head.," 27 Oct. 2019 Donald touched Freeman first, but Freeman retaliated by shoving Donald in the facemask. BostonGlobe.com, "Falcons’ Freeman ejected," 21 Oct. 2019 The Chinese government retaliated by pressuring the NBA to cancel community events. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "How Lakers handled uncertainty of China trip: 'We came out really good'," 15 Oct. 2019 In 1888, after losing major contracts for lighting Denver and Minneapolis, one of Edison’s managers, Francis Hastings, decided to retaliate by attacking the safety of the Westinghouse Electric AC system. National Geographic, "Edison and Tesla's cutthroat 'Current War' ushered in the electric age," 27 Sep. 2019 Wael Ghonim, a computer engineer, said his criticism of Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi prompted authorities to retaliate by detaining his brother and threatening his parents. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Activist: Egyptian authorities arrest brother to silence me," 20 Sep. 2019 On Sunday, the U.S. slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports, prompting China to retaliate by rolling out higher levies on about $75 billion of U.S. goods in stages. Lisa Dubloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "Musk’s China charm offensive nets Tesla a tax break amid trade war," 2 Sep. 2019 But after the Chinese retaliated by increasing their own levies on about $75 billion worth of American products, the president suddenly doubled down. Author: David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, "New tariffs on shoes, televisions, diapers and other Chinese-made products take effect Sunday," 1 Sep. 2019 But China’s new remarks suggested Beijing may be willing to suspend its plans to retaliate against the U.S. by imposing new tariffs of its own on American products that are exported to China. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Trump, China move to resolve trade dispute before new tariffs kick in," 29 Aug. 2019

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

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Retaliate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/retaliated. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for retaliate

retaliate

verb
How to pronounce retaliate (audio)

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
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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