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avenge, revenge, vengeance

Avenge means to seek justice or to right wrongs fairly.

  • In suing, Janet simply wanted to avenge her losses.

Revenge means to look for reprisal.

  • I will revenge myself if it’s the last thing I do!

Both verbs are followed by the preposition on or for: avenge (or revenge) oneself on someone, for something.

  • Marjorie revenged herself on her unfaithful husband by reporting his illegal activities to the police.
  • Was the murder of Claudius an act of vengeance? Or was Hamlet merely avenging himself for his father’s death?

The nouns revenge and vengeance are followed by on.

  • For stealing the secret of fire, Zeus exacted revenge on Prometheus.
  • The hero of the play swore to have vengeance on his enemies.

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