Synonyms & Antonyms of retaliate

to punish in kind the wrongdoer responsible for
  • retaliated his neighbor's malicious destruction of his flower garden by cutting down the man's prize apple tree

Synonyms for retaliate

Words Related to retaliate

Phrases Synonymous with retaliate

Near Antonyms for retaliate

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Frequently Asked Questions About retaliate

How does the verb retaliate contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of retaliate are reciprocate, requite, and return. While all these words mean "to give back usually in kind or in quantity," retaliate usually implies a paying back of injury in exact kind, often vengefully.

the enemy retaliated by executing their prisoners

When is reciprocate a more appropriate choice than retaliate?

While in some cases nearly identical to retaliate, reciprocate implies a mutual or equivalent exchange or a paying back of what one has received.

reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them for a visit

Where would requite be a reasonable alternative to retaliate?

While the synonyms requite and retaliate are close in meaning, requite implies a paying back according to one's preference and often not equivalently.

requited her love with cold indifference

When could return be used to replace retaliate?

The words return and retaliate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, return implies a paying or giving back.

returned their call

return good for evil

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Time Traveler for retaliate

Time Traveler

The first known use of retaliate was in 1606

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Cite this Entry

“Retaliate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on retaliate

Nglish: Translation of retaliate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retaliate for Arabic Speakers


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