• IPA: /ˌɹɛtɹɪˈbjuʃən/


  1. Punishment inflicted in the spirit of moral outrage or personal vengeance.
    • 1983, Richard A. Posner, The economics of justicem p.208:
      Whereas retribution focuses on the offender's wrong, retaliation focuses on the impulse of the victim (or of those who sympathize with him) to strike back at the offender.
    • 1999, Barbara Hanawalt, Medieval crime and social control, p.73:
      1. Revenge is for an injury; retribution is for a wrong.
      2. Retribution sets an internal limit to the amount of the punishment according to the seriousness of the wrong; revenge need not.
      3. Revenge is personal; the agent of retribution need have no special or personal tie to the victim of the wrong for which he exacts retribution.
      4. Revenge involves a particular emotional tone, pleasure in the suffering of another, while retribution need involve no emotional tone.
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