vengeance

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Our manager apparently talked to him, and the problem mostly went away, then came back with a vengeance a few months ago. Karla L. Miller, Washington Post, "Work Advice: Manager’s response to employee’s odor doesn’t pass the smell test," 5 July 2019 This is no longer a show about the ocean as a body of water that can gobble up your secrets, but as a natural force that will inevitably spit them back up at you with a vengeance when the tide rises. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Big Little Lies Gets Tough," 28 June 2019 Back with a vengeance Carli Lloyd made sure her return to the starting lineup was a memorable one. Juan Pimiento, chicagotribune.com, "Lloyd's revenge, Pogba's bomb and the best of the soccer weekend," 16 June 2019 Do Hank and Magneto’s desire to kill her come from any place other than vengeance? Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Quiet Strengths of 'Dark Phoenix'," 8 June 2019 That’s staging old opera over and over with a vengeance — and emphasizing its humanity, its repetitiveness, its beauty, and the sheer human feat of pulling it off. Washington Post, "Reexamining opera, one classic at a time," 14 June 2019 After trailing through the first seven innings — the Tigers once listless offense awoke with a vengeance. Sam Blum | Sblum@al.com, al.com, "Auburn comes back late, is one win away from College World Series," 8 June 2019 In the 1,000-plus years since the Maya society collapsed, the jungle has returned with a vengeance. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "The Lost World of the Maya is Finally Emerging From the Jungle," 7 Feb. 2019 Recurring waves of good and ill fortune have beset it, as successive governors have imposed diverse agendas and the nation’s moral fashions have swung between desires for vengeance and forgiveness. The Economist, "An enthralling history of HMP Brixton," 6 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vengeance

Dictionary Entries near vengeance

Venezuela, Gulf of

venge

vengeable

vengeance

vengeant

vengeful

venger

Statistics for vengeance

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vengeance

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vengeance

vengeance

noun

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

vengeance

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on vengeance

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

WORD OF THE DAY

food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!