vengeance

noun
ven·​geance | \ ˈven-jən(t)s \

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

Najib, 65, has accused Malaysia's new government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of seeking political vengeance and vowed to clear his name at his trial. Fox News, "Malaysia anti-graft agency arrests former leader Najib Razak," 19 Sep. 2018 The nation's top offense is imposing enough without compelling those bats to seek vengeance. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "UT drops Game 1 of super regional to Tennessee Tech," 9 June 2018 The nation’s top offense is imposing enough without compelling those bats to seek vengeance. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas drops first game in Super Regional," 9 June 2018 Angry mob sought vengeance On Sept. 15, 1897, five prisoners were dragged from the Ripley County Jail in Versailles and killed by a lynch mob. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Notorious mass murders in Indiana's past," 25 Nov. 2013 And now Michael Cohen poses probably one of the biggest threats to his presidency, and feels a sense of personal betrayal and vengeance. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Axios’ Jonathan Swan explains what the press gets wrong about the Trump administration," 6 Dec. 2018 Danny struggled to wield it responsibly; Davos is pure vengeance. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Iron Fist’s second Netflix season mostly lives up to its promising trailer," 10 Sep. 2018 Now, Dolores is out in the real world, with a Hale doppelgänger at her disposal; a handy thing to have indeed, especially for someone who still has an eye on mass-vengeance against humanity, with a faux Delos board leader in tow. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Westworld': Here's Who Is Still Alive Heading Into Season 3," 26 June 2018 If William can turn into the Man In Black, what's to stop an older version of Logan—who seemed to be a few rungs above William on the sociopath ladder to begin with—from returning for his own vengeance mission? Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "8 Things to Expect From 'Westworld' Season 2," 7 Dec. 2016

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

8 Jan 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 \

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

means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!