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 Now, nearing the end of his first term with a difficult reelection ahead, those questions have resurfaced with a vengeance. Washington Post, "Trump’s two Russias confound coherent US policy," 1 July 2020 In the Bay Area, the list includes Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano counties, where the virus has come back with a vengeance. Dustin Gardiner,, "Newsom orders shutdown of indoor business in 19 California counties," 1 July 2020 Faith arrives in Deerlaken, hot on Gary’s heels, to take over the incumbent mayor’s campaign with a vengeance, invading this world of flannel and trucker’s caps in needle-sharp stilettos and an assortment of statement-sleeve tops. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Jon Stewart’s Irresistible Is a Political Comedy Heavy on Zingers But Light on Revelations," 24 June 2020 More from Carol Cain: The virus hit metro Detroit quickly and with a vengeance as health care workers and those on the front lines found themselves in need of personal protection equipment — face masks, face shields, gowns and gloves. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "Bill Ford: 'This is my home. We stayed here when others were leaving.'," 13 June 2020 As the techlash returns with a vengeance, Zuckerberg and his peers may face a long, tense year ahead. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, "The backlash to Silicon Valley returns with a vengeance," 10 June 2020 What's clear is that Part II follows Ellie on a personal quest for vengeance, while a war rages between two rival militia factions called the Washington Liberation Front and the Seraphites. Darryn King, Wired, "The Last of Us Part II and Its Crisis-Strewn Path to Release," 10 June 2020 That mindset is back with a vengeance, thanks to the professional gaming scene, where players are looking for the ultimate edge. Popular Science, "Upgrade your Xbox One game with these amazing controllers," 9 June 2020 This kind of vigilante vengeance does occasionally happen in prisons. Leah Marilla Thomas,, "13 Reasons Why Season 4 Is All About What Happened To Monty In Season 3," 5 June 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

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vengeance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 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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