Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Punishment administered in return for a wrong committed.
  • noun Theology Punishment or reward distributed in a future life based on performance in this one.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of retributing or paying back for past good or evil; hence, that which is given in return; requital according to merits or deserts, in present use generally restricted to the requital of evil, or punishment; retaliation.
  • noun In theology, the distribution of rewards and punishments in a future life.
  • noun simply a continuance of the present (continuance theory);
  • noun a life of gradual development by means of discipline (purgatory), or future redemptive influences (future probation).
  • noun Synonyms Vengeance, Retaliation, etc. (see revenge), repayment, payment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of retributing; repayment.
  • noun That which is given in repayment or compensation; return suitable to the merits or deserts of, as an action; commonly, condign punishment for evil or wrong.
  • noun Specifically, reward and punishment, as distributed at the general judgment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Punishment inflicted in the spirit of moral outrage or personal vengeance.

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

  • noun the act of taking revenge (harming someone in retaliation for something harmful that they have done) especially in the next life
  • noun a justly deserved penalty
  • noun the act of correcting for your wrongdoing

Etymologies

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

[Middle English retribucion, repayment, reward, from Old French retribution, from Late Latin retribūtiō, retribūtiōn-, from Latin retribūtus, past participle of retribuere, to pay back : re-, re- + tribuere, to grant; see tribe.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin, from retribuere ("assign again").

Examples

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