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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web After a two-year hiatus, the flu may be back this season – and with a vengeance. Cady Stanton, USA TODAY, 12 Aug. 2022 Meme mania has returned to the stock market with a vengeance. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 8 Aug. 2022 In 2018 government forces killed hundreds of people during pro-democracy protests, and the regime has continued to hunt its critics with a vengeance. Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Aug. 2022 After seeing falling costs by as much as 20% in urban areas like Chicago in 2020, rent prices have come back with a vengeance. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 3 Aug. 2022 Travel is back with a vengeance right now, and destination weddings are no exception. Michelle Gross, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 2 Aug. 2022 The sequel, which will have three additional films, follows Jake Sully and Neytiri's family as an old threat returns with a vengeance. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 27 July 2022 Post-Euphoria, bold eye makeup has come back with a vengeance, so much so that black eyeliner sales increased by 86% in June and July, according to consumer data from Klarna, an ecommerce payment processing firm. Danielle Sinay, Glamour, 26 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vengeance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for vengeance


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

More from Merriam-Webster on vengeance

Nglish: Translation of vengeance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vengeance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about vengeance


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