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Word comparisons

Note 150 – Comparing ‘avenge’ and ‘revenge’

The words avenge and revenge have different meanings.  This blog shows the definitions of the two words as well as some examples of their use in sentences.


According to the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus, the verb avenge means “get revenge for” and “to inflict a punishment in retaliation for (harm, injury etc) done to (a person or persons)”.  Oxford Dictionaries online define it as to “inflict harm in return for an injury or wrong done to oneself or another”.  Some examples are as follows:

  1. He avenged the death of his cousin.  [He got revenge for the death of his cousin]
  2. How can you avenge a wrong done to you? [How can you inflict a punishment in retaliation to a wrong done to you?]

Can you use of the word avenge with a reflexive pronoun?

The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus explains that the use of avenge with a reflexive pronoun is considered acceptable nowadays, e.g. Stan avenged himself on his wife’s killer.


According to the Oxford Dictionaries online, the word revenge means “the action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands”.   Collins Dictionary & Thesaurus defines revenge as “the act of retaliating for wrongs or injury received” and “something done as a means of vengence”.  Some examples are:

  1. Stan took revenge on his late wife’s lover.
  2. Tom ran over Suzy’s cat on purpose, but she got her revenge.

My thoughts:  I found making sentences with the word avenge quite difficult to begin with, but once I found the phrase “get revenge for” in the thesaurus part of the Collins Dictionary & Thesaurus, it all clicked into place for me. I will now feel comfortable using this word in sentences.

This blog forms part of my writing challenge. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter!/madeirasandra or my ‘Tips and LuxuriesFacebook page. Requests for future blogs (punctuation/grammar/writing tips) are always welcome.

Until tomorrow…


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Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus – published by HarperCollins Publishers, UK

Oxford Dictionaries online


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer


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