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Avenge or Revenge?

What Is the Difference between "Avenge" and "Revenge"?

homesitemapA-Z confused words avenge or revenge?
"Avenge" and "revenge" are easy to confuse because they sound similar and both relate to getting payback.
  • "Avenge" means to get payback on behalf of another. For example:
    • You hurt my brother. Therefore, I will avenge my brother by hurting you. correct tick
  • "Revenge" means to get payback for yourself. For example:
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will seek revenge against you. correct tick
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will seek revenge for your action against me. correct tick
    The word "revenge" is most commonly seen as a noun, as in the examples above. However, it can also be used as a verb. For example:
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will revenge myself by hurting you. correct tick
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will revenge your action against me. correct tick
    • You hurt me. Therefore, I will revenge you. wrong cross
    • (This is not how the verb "to revenge" works.)
avenge or revenge?

More about "Avenge" and "Revenge"

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. correct tick
  • (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. correct tick (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. correct tick (Singer Frank Sinatra)
  • Revenge is not always sweet. Once it is consummated, we feel inferior to our victim. correct tick (Philosopher Emile M Cioran)

Summary

  • "Avenge" means to get payback for the inflicted party.
  • "Revenge" means "to get payback as the inflicted party."
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.

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