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Difference between Avenge or Revenge

avenge or revenge

The terms “avenge” and “revenge” are often used interchangeably in everyday language, yet they have distinct meanings and connotations. Understanding the difference between these two actions is crucial for precise communication, especially in contexts involving justice, literature, and personal relationships. While both involve responding to a wrong, “avenge” is generally seen as an act carried out in the name of justice or vindication for someone else, whereas “revenge” is driven by personal vendetta.

Part of SpeechVerbNoun (also used as a verb)
DefinitionTo inflict harm in retaliation for someone elseTo inflict harm in retaliation for oneself; the action of retaliating
IntentJustice or vindication on behalf of anotherPersonal satisfaction or retaliation
Usage“He vowed to avenge his brother’s death.”“She took revenge on those who wronged her.”

Difference Between “Avenge” and “Revenge”

Definition of Avenge

"Avenge" is a verb that means to exact retribution on behalf of someone else. It typically involves a perceived notion of seeking justice or rectifying a wrong done to another person or group. The action is usually carried out in an effort to uphold moral or social order.

Definition of Revenge

Revenge" can be used both as a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to the action taken in retaliation for harm or injury. As a verb, it describes the act of exacting retaliation for oneself. Revenge is driven by personal vendetta and is often seen as an emotional response aimed at personal satisfaction.

Origin of Avenge

The word “avenge” originates from the Old French “avengier,” which stems from the Latin “vindicare,” meaning to lay claim to, avenge, or punish. Its use implies a focus on justice rather than personal satisfaction.

Origin of Revenge

Revenge” comes from the Old French “revenge,” itself from “revengier,” composed of “re-” indicating repetition or backward motion, and “vengier,” meaning to take revenge. Its roots reflect a more personal and emotional drive.


  • Avenge: /əˈvɛndʒ/
  • Revenge: /rɪˈvɛndʒ/

Comparing Avenge and Revenge

The key distinction lies in the motive and the beneficiary of the act. Avenge is an action taken to redress a wrong for the sake of someone else or a higher cause, often with a sense of duty. Revenge, on the other hand, is motivated by personal feelings of anger or hurt, with the primary goal of personal satisfaction or retaliation.

MotivationJustice, vindication for anotherPersonal satisfaction, retaliation
BeneficiarySomeone else or a collectiveThe individual seeking revenge
ConnotationMore noble or justifiedOften viewed as spiteful or malicious
ExampleAvenging a slain family memberTaking revenge for a personal insult

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Avenge in Sentences

  1. The hero vowed to avenge the village ravaged by bandits, emphasizing a quest for justice on behalf of others.
  2. Law enforcement agencies work to avenge victims of fraud, highlighting their role in seeking justice.
  3. In many stories, knights avenge the honor of their king, reflecting a duty to uphold social and moral order.
  4. Activists seek to avenge the wrongs done to the environment, showing a commitment to rectifying broader harms.
  5. She promised to avenge her partner’s unfair dismissal, indicating action taken on behalf of someone else.

Use of Revenge in Sentences

  1. After years of bullying, he took his revenge, indicating a personal vendetta.
  2. The plot of the movie revolves around a woman’s quest for revenge, highlighting a personal journey of retaliation.
  3. She crafted a plan for revenge against her betrayers, showing premeditation for personal satisfaction.
  4. Revenge became his only motive after the betrayal, emphasizing the emotional drive behind the action.
  5. The novel explores the destructive nature of seeking revenge, reflecting on the personal and societal impacts.


While “avenge” and “revenge” both involve responses to wrongdoing, they differ significantly in terms of motivation, intent, and ethical implications. Understanding these distinctions is key to accurately conveying the nuances of justice, personal vendetta, and moral action in various contexts.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can “avenge” and “revenge” ever be used interchangeably?
    • While they are often used interchangeably in colloquial language, their distinct meanings suggest they should be used with care to convey the correct intent.
  • Is “avenge” always seen as more moral or just than “revenge”?
    • Typically, “avenge” is viewed more positively, as it implies acting for justice or on behalf of others, whereas “revenge” is seen as more self-serving.
  • How can I determine whether to use “avenge” or “revenge”?
    • Consider the motivation and the beneficiary of the action. If it’s for personal satisfaction, use “revenge.” If it’s to right a wrong for someone else or a cause, use “avenge.”
  • Are there situations where seeking revenge is justified?
    • This is subjective and often debated morally and ethically. Literature and philosophy explore scenarios where revenge is portrayed as understandable or justified, but societal norms typically favor justice systems for redress.
  • Does the desire to avenge always lead to positive outcomes?
    • Not necessarily. While motivated by a sense of justice, the pursuit to avenge can sometimes lead to further conflict or moral dilemmas, questioning the true nature of justice and its consequences.


What is the difference between avenge and revenge?

Avenge is a verb that means “to take vengeance for” or “to take vengeance on behalf of.” On the other hand, revenge is primarily used as a noun and refers to an act of retaliating for a prior insult or wrong. Avenge involves inflicting harm or humiliation on someone for a harm or humiliation they caused, while revenge can encompass both retaliation and the desire to enact vengeance. Avenge is typically associated with a sense of justice, while revenge often implies vindictiveness or resentment.

When should I use avenge or revenge?

The usage of avenge or revenge depends on the context and the intent behind the action. Avenge is used as a verb and is employed when seeking to take vengeance for a wrongdoing or harm inflicted by someone else. It involves inflicting harm or humiliation on the person responsible for the initial offense. On the other hand, revenge is primarily used as a noun, although it can also be used as a verb. Revenge encompasses the act of retaliating for a past insult or wrong, driven by the desire to gain satisfaction or achieve retribution. It often carries a connotation of vindictiveness or resentment. However, revenge can also be driven by a sense of justice in certain situations.

Can you provide examples of avenge and revenge?

Sure! Here are some examples that illustrate the usage of avenge and revenge in sentences:

  • He vowed to avenge his sister’s death by hunting down the killer and bringing them to justice.
  • She sought revenge on her ex-boyfriend by spreading rumors about him.
  • The avenger carried out a series of vengeful acts to retaliate against those who wronged him.
  • They were determined to seek revenge for the betrayal they experienced.
Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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