Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A punishment or retribution that one deserves; one's just deserts: "It's a chance to strike back at the critical brotherhood and give each his comeuppance for evaluative sins of the past” ( Judith Crist).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A negative outcome which is justly deserved.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An unpleasant experience a person endures, which is viewed by others as a just retribution for bad behavior; just deserts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an outcome (good or bad) that is well deserved

Etymologies

From come up ("appear before a judge") +‎ -ance. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The final comeuppance is a bit of a surprise, but I have to admit problem sloughing through the Scottish dialogue, half of which I had to read through twice.

    REVIEW: Wireless by Charles Stross

  • "If you love to hate the superrich, The Valet, a delectable comedy in which the great French actor Daniel Auteuil portrays a piggy billionaire industrialist facing his comeuppance, is a sinfully delicious bonbon," writes Stephen Holden in the New York Times.

    GreenCine Daily: Interview. Francis Veber.

  • The Swiss miss finally recieved her comeuppance from the Japanese veteran after being up 2 breaks in the third set.

    WIMBLEDON 2006: Ladies' Quarterfinal Predictions

  • The idea that liberals never understood this until Bush v. Gore, and that now, finally, they are getting their righteous comeuppance, is bizzare.

    Balkinization

  • But just before the nuptials, fate and a little comeuppance from the past threaten the happy couple's future.

    Not A Day Goes By: Summary and book reviews of Not A Day Goes By by E Lynn Harris.

  • She starts off, by design, as an unsympathetic character (hence the titled comeuppance), who, like any newcomer in a Hollywood flick, not only learns to cope well enough (despite the natives) to stay in Japan and grow, but also to recommend to everyone (in a self-important interview in the back of the book) to try living overseas (I agree, of course, but one year abroad hardly makes one an authority on world travel).

    debito.org

  • It reminds me of that John Wayne movie where his insubordinate and rude eldest son got his comeuppance from the “old man” and old John said; “If you won’t respect your elders, you’ll sure as hell respect your betters.”

    Think Progress » The Sounds of Peace

  • Indeed, could not the "great vampire squid", Goldman Sachs, end up twisting on a harpoon called comeuppance?

    Julian Kossoff: After the Humiliation of Rupert Murdoch, Comeuppance for Goldman Sachs?

  • "He got what we politely call the comeuppance in the polls," Shriver said of the election.

    Dalai Lama Lauds Women Leaders

  • The books don't have to be happy throughout as some sadness tends to make them more like reality, but a happy ending or, if not completely happy, at least one where the baddy gets their comeuppance is a must.

    The Guardian World News

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Comments

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  • "Despite the hot-tempered invective directed its way, the 'Great Satan' didn't face its comeuppance until the New Deal in the 1930s. Then, all its transgressions -- its speculative greed, its felonious insider-dealing, its cynical manipulation of popular credulity, its extravagant incompetence and seemingly limitless capacity for self-delusion -- left Wall Street truly vulnerable."
    - Steve Fraser, 'Wall Street and the Return of the Repressed', 2 Oct 2008.

    October 3, 2008

  • Well, actually, it was probably your list that prompted me to think "hey, isn't this Victorian?" in the first place. So whose fault is it now, huh?! ;)

    April 22, 2008

  • mmhm, I couldn't resist confirming your suspicion, and that then led to a wondering on my part. Not quite so direct!

    April 22, 2008

  • It wasn't actually a suggestion, sarra, but feel free if you choose!

    April 22, 2008

  • 1859. I'm not sure it fits the main criterion for my list though: it's not a particularly strange or idle word, after all. I'll mull it over…

    April 22, 2008

  • In a word?
    Yes.

    April 22, 2008

  • Is it worrying that I read that as an existential question?

    April 22, 2008

  • Nobody is listing whiff of scullerymaid. Why don't you?

    April 22, 2008

  • It does have the whiff of scullerymaid about it, don't it?

    April 21, 2008

  • This has to be a Victorian-era invention.

    April 21, 2008