Tag Archive - Avenge vs. Revenge

Avenge and Revenge

When you want payback, are you after revenge or do you mean to avenge someone?

Avenge and vengeance have to do with justice, and often with a legal process—although an individual can take justice upon himself:

  • I want to see their deaths avenged.
  • He went to prison for avenging an attack on his wife.

The word avenge, though, may not have anything to do with justice but only with evening a score. Payback.

Revenge, in contrast, means to inflict suffering or harm on another out of personal resentment. Revenge is all about getting even. Payback, yes, but not specifically justice. A person can mete out revenge on someone who doesn’t deserve it. And keep in mind, avenge, doesn’t imply the infliction of harm.

Revenge can be either a noun or a verb, but avenge cannot be used as a noun.

If you want to avenge a wrong without going to jail, you may want to take legal action and not seek revenge.