Definitions

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

  • n. An act perpetrated by one nation upon another in retaliation or reprisal for a similar act perpetrated by the other nation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of retaliation taken by one nation against another as a reprisal

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as retortion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of retorting; retaliation; specifically, in international law, the adoption toward another nation or its subjects of a line of treatment in accordance with the course pursued by itself or them in the like circumstances. It implies peaceful retaliation. Also written retortion.

Etymologies

Probably French rétorsion, from Latin retortus (influenced by Late Latin torsiō, a twisting, wringing), past participle of retorquēre, to cast back; see retort1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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