avenge, revenge
The principal differences to bear in mind are (1) that you avenge a person (including yourself) or an act but revenge only an act or yourself (usually on someone), and (2) that avenge is only a verb but revenge is a noun as well (in fact more commonly so). Differences in meaning, though proposed from time to time, are too subtle to have any practical use as guidance. Examples: (avenge)

• The ferocity and guile with which Absalom had avenged the rape of his sister —D. Jacobson, 1970

• That brave god will leap down from his steed when he has to avenge his father's death —K. Crossley-Holland, 1980

• Through characterization the novelist has the means to avenge himself on his enemies —P. D. James, 1993

• (revenge) It wasn't just that I could never revenge myself upon him —S. Mason, 1990

• If I were to revenge myself upon you … that would be an act of despair —Iris Murdoch, 1993.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Avenge — A*venge , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Avenged} (?); p. pr. & vb. n. {Avenging} (?).] [OF. avengier; L. ad + vindicare to lay claim to, to avenge, revenge. See {Vengeance}.] 1. To take vengeance for; to exact satisfaction for by punishing the injuring… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • avenge — avenge, revenge mean to inflict punishment on a person who has wronged oneself or another. Once close synonyms, these verbs are now increasingly divergent in implications. One may avenge or revenge (oneself or another who is wronged), but avenge… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • avenge — (v.) late 14c., from Anglo Fr. avenger, O.Fr. avengier, from a to (see AD (Cf. ad )) + vengier take revenge (Mod.Fr. venger), from L. vindicare to claim, avenge, punish (see VINDICATE (Cf. vindicate)). Related: Avenge …   Etymology dictionary

  • avenge — avenge; avenge·ment; …   English syllables

  • avenge — [ə venj′] vt., vi. avenged, avenging [ME avengen < OFr avengier < a (L ad), to + vengier < L vindicare, to claim: see VINDICATE] 1. to get revenge for (an injury, wrong, etc.) 2. to take vengeance on behalf of, as for a wrong avenger n.… …   English World dictionary

  • Avenge — A*venge , v. i. To take vengeance. Levit. xix. 18. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Avenge — A*venge , n. Vengeance; revenge. [Obs.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • avenge — index penalize, repay, retaliate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • avenge — [v] retaliate chasten, chastise, come back at, even the score, get back at, get even, payback, punish, redress, repay, requite, retribute, revenge, stick it to, take satisfaction, take vengeance, venge, vindicate; concepts 122,126 …   New thesaurus

  • avenge — ► VERB ▪ inflict harm in return for (a wrong). DERIVATIVES avenger noun. ORIGIN Old French avengier, from Latin vindicare vindicate …   English terms dictionary

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