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

Aldermen in July tabled a motion to censure Reid after multiple city employees complained that Reid harassed, threatened, and retaliated against them. Genevieve Bookwalter, chicagotribune.com, "Lawsuit filed by Evanston city clerk against city officials over FOIA practices dismissed," 12 Aug. 2019 Offensive bursts create opportunities for opponents to retaliate Alongside the first and last five minutes of every period, the five minutes after a goal is scored is considered to be the most dangerous moments for a defense. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando Pride’s 4-3 loss to Portland Thorns," 17 July 2019 As the players were heading off of the field, another fan retaliated by throwing an object at a member of LA Galaxy II and hitting him in the back, according to an official Rising team statement. Christopher Howley, azcentral, "Phoenix Rising FC wins 20th straight match after controversial incident with fans," 15 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 after the Chinese retaliated by increasing their own levies on about $75 billion worth of American products, the president suddenly doubled down. David J. Lynch, BostonGlobe.com, "New tariffs on shoes, televisions, diapers, and other Chinese-made products take effect Sunday," 31 Aug. 2019 But after the Chinese retaliated by increasing their own levies on about $75 billion worth of American products, the president suddenly doubled down. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, "New tariffs on shoes, televisions, diapers and other Chinese-made products take effect Sunday," 31 Aug. 2019 China retaliated by having its central bank — the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) — devalue the country’s currency, the renminbi (RMB). Robert Samuelson, Twin Cities, "Robert Samuelson: The China-America trade crackup," 9 Aug. 2019 Iran retaliated by seizing a British tanker in the Persian Gulf, a pointed reminder that any military effort to enforce the oil sanctions could quickly heat up. Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times, "U.S. Sanctions Turn Iran’s Oil Industry Into Spy vs. Spy," 8 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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Statistics for retaliate

Last Updated

18 Oct 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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