Definitions

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

  • n. Something justly deserved; recompense.
  • n. Something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment.
  • n. Theology Punishment or reward distributed in a future life based on performance in this one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of retributing; repayment.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Specifically, reward and punishment, as distributed at the general judgment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. In theology, the distribution of rewards and punishments in a future life.
  • n. simply a continuance of the present (continuance theory);
  • n. a life of gradual development by means of discipline (purgatory), or future redemptive influences (future probation).
  • n. Synonyms Vengeance, Retaliation, etc. (see revenge), repayment, payment.

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

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

Etymologies

Middle English retribucion, from Old French retribution, from Latin retribūtiō, retribūtiōn-, from retribūtus, past participle of retribuere, to pay back : re-, re- + tribuere, to grant; see tribe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin, from retribuere ("assign again"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Boehner says NUH-UH: Jim Jordan and I may not always agree on strategy, but we are friends and allies, and the word retribution is not in my vocabulary.

    HUFFPOST HILL - Debt Vote Delayed

  • It also claimed responsibility for the bombings in Uganda during the World Cup last year, part of what it called retribution for the presence of African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.

    NYT > Home Page

  • But I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime.

    Archive 2010-01-01

  • Though the exact contents of the Facebook post and the previously mentioned letter are not clear, it is obvious that the Palins did not, at the time of the email, intend to put any more political muscle behind Miller's candidacy, and were specifically withholding support they had intended to give in retribution for Miller's failure to support Palin's presidential aspirations.

    Jeanne Devon ("AKMuckraker"): Internal Emails Suggest Palin to Run for President

  • She's stayed with him, and the big worry is possible retribution from the drug people.

    Drug money moving from the USA to Mexico

  • Except for those five, who if recent history is a guide will be excoriated by the right wing smearcasters, subjected to promises of retribution from the GOP leadership, and attacked by the goose-stepping jackals of the right wing-nut political militia.

    Obama Supreme Court nominee faces Senate Judiciary vote

  • Consequently, China's rare earth retribution is stirring an extremely uneasy reaction.

    Sarah Stephens: Embargoes

  • If one of them were to nuke anyone else, the risk of profound socioeconomic retribution from the rest of the world would be enough for "thinking" leaders to re-think.

    blast off

  • Is it at the point that companies are afraid to say an opinion lest they fear retribution from the lawmakers, and if they are then that says more about the state of government than anything else in that they are running the country in an atmosphere of disagreement reaps you punishment?.

    Controversial memo sends financial giant backtracking

  • What we call retribution is the universal necessity by which the whole appears wherever a part appears.

    V. Essays. Compensation. 1841

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