Thesaurus

retaliate

verb

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

See the Dictionary Definition 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about retaliate

Time Traveler for retaliate

Time Traveler

The first known use of retaliate was in 1606

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Retaliate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/retaliate. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on retaliate

Dictionary: Definition of retaliate

Nglish: Translation of retaliate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retaliate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on retaliate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!