vengeance/revenge/reprisal

< Previous | Next >

good_argument

New Member
Polish
Hello :)

Here's a sentence a have got a problem with (from CAE Expert by Jan Bell, Roger Gower, Drew Hyde)

"For people who might possess vital information, Crimestoppers creates an opportunity for them to come forward without fearing vengeance/revenge/reprisals.

I would like to know what the difference is between the words?

Word Reference Dictionary says that:

revenge: the act of retaliating for wrongs or injury received; vengeance

reprisal:

the act or an instance of retaliation in any form.


Thanks a lot for your help :)
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There is not a lot of difference in all three words. The nuance is slightly difference though:

    The king took vengeance on the rebels. -> Vengeance is an almost biblical word. It implies that the person taking vengeance is very powerful indeed and that he is not concerned with the cruel suffering he will inflict.

    "The rebels have spoken against my rule as king! I will have vengeance! Kill every man, woman, and child of them."

    He took revenge on the rebels. -> This implies that the person taking revenge is inflicting a similar level of damage on the rebels that the rebels inflicted upon him.

    "She broke my computer, so, in revenge, I smashed her iPhone."

    He took reprisals against the rebels. -> a reprisal (often plural) has the nuance of being, in some way, justifiable (or even legal or legitimate) from the point of view of the person conducting the reprisals.

    "The rebels killed three soldiers and the general ordered the troops to take reprisal by executing 20 of the prisoners."
     

    good_argument

    New Member
    Polish
    There is not a lot of difference in all three words. The nuance is slightly difference though:

    The king took vengeance on the rebels. -> Vengeance is an almost biblical word. It implies that the person taking vengeance is very powerful indeed and that he is not concerned with the cruel suffering he will inflict.

    "The rebels have spoken against my rule as king! I will have vengeance! Kill every man, woman, and child of them."

    He took revenge on the rebels. -> This implies that the person taking revenge is inflicting a similar level of damage on the rebels that the rebels inflicted upon him.

    "She broke my computer, so, in revenge, I smashed her iPhone."

    He took reprisals against the rebels. -> a reprisal (often plural) has the nuance of being, in some way, justifiable (or even legal or legitimate) from the point of view of the person conducting the reprisals.

    "The rebels killed three soldiers and the general ordered the troops to take reprisal by executing 20 of the prisoners."
     

    good_argument

    New Member
    Polish
    Thank you lot for the explanation :)

    How about this situation. Say, somebody has killed a member of my family. Do I take revenge on that person? (similar level of damage - I want to kill that person's brother/sister), or I take reprisal against that person? (now I feel it's justifiable. As you said 'justifiable from the point of view of the person conducting the repaisal).

    Which would be more appropriate? Or maybe both are acceptable. It just depends on me, as the speaker, what kind of message I want to impart.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I did not mention it, but reprisals are usually taken by organised groups equipped to do such things.

    In your case, you would certainly take revenge.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top