Avenge or Revenge?

by Craig Shrives

Avenge or Revenge?

What is the difference between "avenge" and "revenge"?
  • "To avenge" means to take vengeance on behalf of another. For example:
    • You hurt my brother. Therefore, I will avenge my brother by hurting you.
  • "To revenge" means to gain satisfaction by carrying out a retributive action. For example:
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will revenge myself by hurting you.
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will revenge your action against me.
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will revenge you.
    • (This is not how the verb "to revenge" works.)
The word "revenge" is most commonly seen as a noun. For example:
  • I will seek revenge for your action against me.
  • I will seek revenge against you.
In summary, "to avenge" means "to get payback for the inflicted party," while "to revenge" means "to get payback as the inflicted party."

avenge or revenge?

More about "Avenge" and "Revenge"

"Avenge" and "revenge" have similar meanings, but there is a difference.

Avenge

The verb "to avenge" means to seek retribution on behalf of somebody else. It contrasts with "revenge," which is about seeking retribution for yourself.

Example sentences with "avenge":
  • She vowed to avenge her brother's death.
  • (This means she is seeking retribution on behalf of her brother, not for herself.)
  • Follow me if I advance; kill me if I retreat; avenge me if I die. (Vietnamese battle cry)
  • (The narrator of this battle cry is asking his audience to seek retribution on his behalf, not for themselves.)

Revenge

The noun "revenge" means gaining satisfaction by harming someone in return for a wrongdoing suffered at their hands. (The person seeking the revenge does not have to be the same person inflicted by the wrongdoing (although it usually is) but is the person who gains satisfaction. Therefore, it is possible to achieve revenge (i.e., to gain satisfaction) by avenging on behalf of another.)

Example sentences with "revenge":
  • The best revenge is massive success. (Singer Frank Sinatra)
  • Revenge is not always sweet. Once it is consummated, we feel inferior to our victim. (Philosopher Emile M Cioran)
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words