re·​trib·​u·​tive | \ ri-ˈtri-byə-tiv How to pronounce retributive (audio) \

Definition of retributive

: of, relating to, or marked by retribution

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Other Words from retributive

retributively adverb

Examples of retributive in a Sentence

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Will President Duncan order a retributive strike on Russia (because, obviously, the SOJ is working for Russia, via a cutout or two)? Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The President Is Missing… a few finer points on how the cyber works in this novel," 17 June 2018 However, the Trump administration's policies so far have veered from the idea of a second chance in favor of a more retributive approach. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, "Trump set one woman free, but he's trying to put a lot more drug offenders away," 7 June 2018 Unlike their last meeting, at Fenway Park a month ago, there were no spikes-up slides, no retributive fastballs in the back and no bench-clearing brawls. New York Times, "Yankees Tie for A.L. East Lead With Win Over Red Sox," 8 May 2018 In addition to the strike missions, there were F/A-18s on combat air patrol to be on guard for retributive strikes, and refueling tankers were ready to support the US and allied aircraft in the strike. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "What the latest strike on Syria succeeded at (and what it didn’t)," 18 Apr. 2018 But others – perhaps including a man who claimed to have an entire garage full of the bikes – regard their borrowing as a kind of retributive justice against the massive company. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Google Is Struggling With Friendly Neighborhood Bike Thieves," 6 Jan. 2018 Condemned prisoners often spend decades on death row before being executed—if the execution ever happens at all—a fact that undermines any retributive value capital punishment might provide. Rebecca Mccray, Slate Magazine, "For many death row inmates, the long process leading to capital punishment is itself cruel—but not unusual.," 7 Mar. 2017 Men’s-rights activists love to imagine apocalyptic scenarios in which this sort of retributive violence plays out on a global scale. David Futrelle, The Cut, "Men’s-Rights Activism Is the Gateway Drug for the Alt-Right," 17 Aug. 2017 Chicago, then, is in the throes of a culture — maybe not so much retributive as reactive — that is killing people, sometimes multiple people, almost every day. Chris Jones,, "Violence proceeds violence, and a doctor who 'shoudda' been heard," 16 June 2017

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

1619, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of retributive was in 1619

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re·​trib·​u·​tive | \ ri-ˈtri-byə-tiv How to pronounce retributive (audio) \

Legal Definition of retributive

: of, relating to, or marked by retribution retributive justice

Other Words from retributive

retributively adverb

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retributive

Comments on retributive

What made you want to look up retributive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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