From Latin retaliatus, past participle of retaliare (to requite, retaliate), from re (back, again) + talis (such).


retaliate (third-person singular simple present retaliates, present participle retaliating, simple past and past participle retaliated)

  1. (intransitive) To do something harmful or negative to get revenge for some harm; to fight back or respond in kind to an injury or affront.
    John insulted Peter to retaliate for Peter's acid remark earlier.
    Many companies have policies in place to prevent bosses from retaliating against allegations of harassment.
  2. (transitive) To repay or requite by an act of the same kind.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir T. Herbert and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      One ambassador sent word to the duke's son that his visit should be retaliated.
    • (Can we date this quote by Jonathan Swift and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      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.


Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ Le Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé
  2. ^ Oxford-Paravia Concise - Dizionario Inglese-Italiano e Italiano-Inglese. Edited by Maria Cristina Bareggi. Torino: Paravia, 2003 (in collaboration with Oxford University Press). ISBN 8839551107. Online version here

Further readingEdit