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retaliate Line breaks: re|tali|ate
Pronunciation: /rɪˈtalɪeɪt/

Definition of retaliate in English:


[no object]
1Make an attack in return for a similar attack: the blow stung and she retaliated immediately
More example sentences
  • The five retaliated, attacking with their weapons and powers.
  • Feodor moved quickly to the left to dodge the attack and quickly retaliated.
  • Surprised, she danced back a step, then retaliated with an attack again absorbed by my shield.
fight back, strike back, hit back, respond, react, reply, reciprocate, counterattack, return fire, return the compliment, put up a fight, take the bait, rise to the bait, return like for like, get back at someone, get, give tit for tat, give as good as one gets, let someone see how it feels, give someone a dose/taste of their own medicine;
have/get/take one's revenge, take/exact/wreak revenge, be revenged, revenge oneself, avenge oneself, take reprisals, get even, even the score, settle a/the score, settle accounts, pay someone back (in their own coin), pay someone out, repay someone, exact retribution, take an eye for an eye (and a tooth for a tooth)
British informal get one's own back
1.1 [with object] archaic Repay (an injury or insult) in kind: they used their abilities to retaliate the injury
More example sentences
  • Twelve years after, in 1111, the Ulidians retaliated and avenged the insult offered to their honour on Crew Hill by defeating the Kinel-Owen at Tullahoge (in Co. Tyrone, above Dungannon), and cut down their sacred trees.
  • Gilbert, earl of Glocester, the greatest baron of the kingdom, had espoused the king's daughter; and being elated by that alliance, and still more by his own power, which, he thought, set him above the laws, he permitted his bailiffs and vassals to commit violence on the lands of Humphrey Bohun, earl of Hereford, who retaliated the injury by like violence.


Pronunciation: /rɪˈtaljətɪv/
Example sentences
  • Often people talk of justice as only retaliative.
  • All that can be accomplished now is retaliative aggression.
  • In a retaliative fit of pique Trish hadn't complained, instead smiling calmly and signing the papers the estate agent had called round with.
Example sentences
  • The Internet is made up of countless interconnected devices, and any innocent routers between the attacker and retaliator would suffer at least twice in a counterstrike.
  • Perhaps you have met a retaliator; this person is a pretty decent fellow, except that he will respond in kind, if attacked.
  • Only those who have an immediate need to know, including, but not limited to, the investigator, the complainant, and the alleged harasser or retaliator shall be provided with the identity of the complainant and allegations.


Early 17th century: from Latin retaliat- 'returned in kind', from the verb retaliare, from re- 'back' + talis 'such'.

Words that rhyme with retaliate

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