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retaliate Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. verb take revenge for a perceived wrong
    revenge; avenge.
    • He wants to avenge the murder of his brother
  2. verb make a counterattack and return like for like, especially evil for evil
    strike back.
    • The Empire strikes back
    • The Giants struck back and won the opener
    • The Israeli army retaliated for the Hamas bombing

Re*tal"i*ate transitive verb
L. retaliatus, p. p. of retaliare to retaliate; pref. re- re- + a word akin to talio talion, retaliation. Cf. Talion.
imperfect & past participle Retaliated ; present participle & verbal noun Retaliating
  1. To return the like for; to repay or requite by an act of the same kind; to return evil for (evil). [Now seldom used except in a bad sense.]
    One ambassador sent word to the duke's son that his visit should be retaliated. Sir T. Herbert.
    It is unlucky to be obliged to retaliate the injuries of authors, whose works are so soon forgotten that we are in danger of appearing the first aggressors. Swift.
Re*tal"i*ate intransitive verb
  1. To return like for like; specifically, to return evil for evil; as, to retaliate upon an enemy.

Webster 1913