Definition of retortion in English:


Line breaks: re|tor¦tion
Pronunciation: /rɪˈtɔːʃ(ə)n


[mass noun]
  • (In international law) retaliation by a state on another’s subjects.
    More example sentences
    • It followed that retortion could not always be regarded as a legitimate action from the standpoint of international law.
    • A 1447 toll on the Prussian towns' vessels was rather in the nature of retortion than the pursuit of a consistent policy.


late 16th century (in the sense 'bending or turning backwards'): from retort1, perhaps on the pattern of contortion.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody