Vergeltung on German Wikipedia


From vergelten (to requite, reciprocate) +‎ -ung.


  • IPA(key): /fərˈɡɛltʊŋ/, /fɛr-/, [fɐˈɡɛltʊŋ], [fɛɐ̯-]
  • (file)


Vergeltung f (genitive Vergeltung, plural Vergeltungen)

  1. requital; reciprocation; payback (the act of treating someone according to how they treated someone else)
    1. (especially) retribution; retaliation (requital for a bad deed)
    2. (less often) reward; recompense (requital for a good deed)

Usage notesEdit

  • Vergeltung (in the negative sense) is distinct from Rache (revenge) in that there is an element of objective justice (rather than just personal, emotional justice), i.e. the requital is seen as a socially and morally justified means of punishment and restraint. German does not have the additional, somewhat vague distinction between “retribution” and “retaliation” (with the latter being, in English, a medium between retribution and revenge).


Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit