ven·​geance | \ ˈven-jən(t)s How to pronounce vengeance (audio) \

Definition of vengeance

: punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense : retribution
with a vengeance
1 : with great force or vehemence undertook reform with a vengeance
2 : to an extreme or excessive degree the tourists are back—with a vengeance

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Examples of vengeance in a Sentence

He thought briefly of the long-dead woman bound to this stone in 1654 and burnt alive as a witch. And for what? An over-sharp tongue, delusions, mental eccentricity, to satisfy a private vengeance, the need for a scapegoat in times of sickness or the failure of a harvest, or perhaps as a sacrifice to propitiate a malignant unnamed god? — P. D. James, The Private Patient, 2008 Unlike the type of cannibalism much of the world had come to know—among desperate explorers, marooned sailors, and victims of famine—the Cinta Larga's consumption of human flesh was born not out of necessity but out of vengeance and an adherence to tribal traditions and ceremony. — Candice Millard, The River of Doubt, 2005 As it turns out, police crackdowns in the 1990's did not so much destroy Los Angeles street gangs as temporarily displace them to Central America. Soon they returned with a vengeance; gang-related homicide rose 50 percent between 1999 and 2002. — Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review, 9 Jan. 2005 He is trying to do in his corner of Texas what death-penalty opponents say is impossible: enforce capital punishment flawlessly, ensuring that the innocent never spend a day on death row and the guilty are sent there only after trials free of bias and vengeance. — John Cloud, Time, 14 July 2003 A holy war may be launched to root out terrorism, but its form must be a punitive crusade, an angry god's vengeance exacted upon sinners, since no proper war can exist when there is no recognition of the other's list of grievances, no awareness of the relentless dynamic binding the powerful and powerless. — John Edgar Wideman, Harper's, March 2002 The fire was set as an act of vengeance. Angry protesters wanted to inflict vengeance on the killer.
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Recent Examples on the Web And no one knows yet whether the virus will reappear with a vengeance as public life resumes. New York Times, "The European Union Is Facing Its Worst Recession Ever. Watch Out, World.," 6 May 2020 Public health experts have warned that an easing of the shutdowns must be accompanied by wider testing and tracing of infected people to keep the virus from coming back with a vengeance. Author: Zeke Miller, Matt Sedensky, Anchorage Daily News, "‘LIBERATE!’: Trump pushes states to lift virus restrictions as governors remain cautious," 18 Apr. 2020 Nina Stemme sings the title role in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016 production of this one-act Richard Strauss opera that reimagines the ancient Greek tale of love and vengeance. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "Alfred Molina plays Mark Rothko in ‘Red’: Your quarantine must-watch of the day," 20 Apr. 2020 Alton Brown Has An Entire Wall of Cast Iron Pans in His Marietta Kitchen Cleaner cookware that’s fun to look at has inspired me to get in the kitchen with even more vengeance than before—now on to find something that’ll inspire me to do the laundry. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, "Why Sustainable Cookware Is Important—and the Brand That’s Inspiring Me To Get in the Kitchen," 11 Apr. 2020 The truth, however—like the line dividing law and vengeance in those wilder times—is much blurrier. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 26 Mar. 2020 At the forefront of the new episodes is Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores, whose vengeance against the human race now involves both grisly murder and corporate espionage. Judy Berman, Time, "Even After a Hard Reset, Westworld Season 3 Feels Like a Long Con," 11 Mar. 2020 Jonah settles under the wing of the successful Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino), with whom Ruth had been working, for a year or so, to ferret out the Nazis and administer thematically appropriate vengeance. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "“Hunters” Is a Spectacularly Misbegotten Tale of Avenging the Holocaust," 18 Feb. 2020 Get some steamy vengeance by donning some dark lingerie and dancing with good-looking singles. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Halsey Gets a Twangy Tiesto Turn Up With 'You Should Be Sad' Remix: Listen," 14 Feb. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vengeance

Middle English vengeaunce, borrowed from Anglo-French, from venger "to exact satisfaction for" (going back to Latin vindicāre "to lay claim to, exact retribution for") + -aunce -ance — more at vindicate

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Time Traveler for vengeance

Time Traveler

The first known use of vengeance was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vengeance

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vengeance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for vengeance


How to pronounce vengeance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vengeance

: the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you or someone else


ven·​geance | \ ˈven-jəns How to pronounce vengeance (audio) \

Kids Definition of vengeance

: harm done to someone usually as punishment in return for an injury or offense
with a vengeance
1 : with great force or effect
2 : to an extreme or excessive degree

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