1. WritingNoob
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    WritingNoob New Member

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    Difference between avenge and revenge?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by WritingNoob, Feb 6, 2011.

    what's the difference between these two words(nouns)?

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    revenge seems to have negative connotations while avenge seems almost a good thing? there's a comic called 'the avengers' about captain america and a group of other superheroes.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    I think

    Avenge: Is usually used when someone is taking action on behalf of someone else who has had a great wrong or injustice perpetrated against them. It can be used for avenging your own wrong, but it is usually clear what was done to you was wrong - most often it seems to be used when it is someone else avenging the wrong.

    Revenge: Is getting your own back and can be for something petty and minor. The wrong can be something perceived doesn't have to be real.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Avenge can't be used as a noun. Revenge can't be used as a verb. Same concept, different uses.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    According to my dictionaries:

    Revenge can be used as a verb - I revenged his adulterous behaviour by ...

    Avenge isn't a noun but avenger can be used as one.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The use of revenge as a verb is woefully outdated. Surely it sounds wrong to you, given that it's never used in contemporary life. You would 'take vengeance' or 'avenge', but never 'revenge'.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    not to me no - I would take revenge for something done to me - Mrs Bobbit definitely took revenge rather than wreaked vengeance upon her husband.

    Vengeance and avenging to me are both much stronger words than revenge. They imply something more serious and final. I would use them in totally different situations to revenge.
     
  7. Anonym
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    Anonym New Member

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    Idk about their grammatic uses, but avenge seems to have a connotation of fulfilling justice in some sense, while revenge is more about getting back at someone & is more vindictive - an inference based merely on how I've seen the words used. Not sure what the actual difference is.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    Thats a better way of putting it thank you, yes that is how I see the words being used and would use them.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Taking revenge is not using revenge as a verb.
    You wouldn't revenge someone, you'd take revenge on someone.
     
  10. twopounder
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    twopounder New Member

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    "It's not revenge... it's punishment."

    Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Big punisher fan :p

    I agree with Anonym. There are Angels of Vengeance but no Angels of Revenge. Vengeance is a more powerful word.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    But then I would use to take revenge in a different situation to I took vengeance or I avenged the situation.

    I may not take revenge on someone but I may revenge something done to me.

    I revenged the litter throwing by throwing it over his parents fence.

    I certainly wouldn't take vengeance for the kid throwing litter in my garden. Revenge might be appropriate.
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It's archaic, no one would use that structure anymore. Not to mention it sounds and reads awfully.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    Then I am archaic :p However I am someone - so somebody does use it. It's hardly ment as literary fiction it was a 2 second example on a thread.
     
  14. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    They mean the same thing. To exact vengeance and to take revenge mean identical things. They both come from the same French word, with revenge originally being the verb, and vengeance the noun. The use of revenge as a verb has become increasingly uncommon though, and use of it as a noun (which began a century after its first recorded use as a verb) has become more popular. They are semantically identical, just different forms of the same idea. 'To avenge' has the same root, but has a greater moral implication; only the morally righteous can avenge something, whereas vengeance is morally neutral.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma New Member Contributor

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    They might mean the same thing but the strength of the word is different.

    To me the phrase 'venegance is mine' is used in a joke like fashion and implies more godlike qualities than some who takes revenge. It is how I usually see them used in context. Revenge is more human, avenge moral, vengeance more godlike/higher power (that higher power could be someone as mundane as the boss or head of state etc).

    Whilst using revenge as a verb maybe seen as archaic - the context of its usage as implying something vindictive isn't, or the idea that avenging is more moral.
     
  16. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Member Contributor

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    Have to agree with arron89 in this debate.

    To use revenge as a verb is just plain wrong in 2011. It may have been acceptable once, but certainly isn't something that anyone would say these days. Indeed, my own dictionary actually has avenge as an alternative meaning for the verb revenge, and I think it has superseded it in modern usage. Likewise using avenge as a noun is clearly not correct either.

    I don't think that the strength of the word is different either, or certainly doesn't seem so to me. They both clearly have a similar root. If I was reading a modern novel and saw revenge used as a verb, it would stop me in my tracks because it would just look completely inappropriate.
     
  17. evelon
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    evelon New Member

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    That's how I see it. They may mean the same in a literary sense, but there are shades of meanings to words . Avenge suggests acting in an honourable way to exact for punishment for some wrong-doing, while revenge suggests a tit-for-tat retaliation.

    I still use both words and will continue to do so.
     
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  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's the only way to make sense of that sentence in today's world, regardless of what you want to do and what may have been done long ago...

    one takes revenge or avenges oneself...

    one cannot take avenge or revenge oneself...

    'It was sweet revenge.'

    can't be...

    'It was sweet avenge.'

    an 'avenger' can't be a 'revenger'

    try using those two words interchangeably and you'll only appear to agents/editors as a clueless clod with poor vocabulary skills...
     
  19. WritingNoob
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    ok, forget about the grammatical issues.

    what are the different uses of avenge, revenge and vengeance?
     
  20. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The 'grammatical issues' are the only differences. You could argue that 'to avenge' has a particular moral aspect where 'to take revenge' does not, but besides that, all the words relate to the same concept. The differences in usage have been laid out pretty clearly above.

    He took revenge on the bullies.
    He avenged his father's murder.
    His vengeance was swift and brutal.
    etc.
     
  21. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict New Member Contributor

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    There's no moral difference between 'avenge' and 'revenge'.

    In terms of grammar, arron89 and Halycon are right about the antiquated use of 'revenge' as a verb. I've never actually heard it being used as a verb.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither have i... at least not by writers who use good grammar and know the difference, that is...
     

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