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[ri-trib-yuh-tiv] /rɪˈtrɪb yə tɪv/
characterized by or involving retribution:
retributive justice.
Also, retributory
[ri-trib-yuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /rɪˈtrɪb yəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA)
Origin of retributive
1670-80; obsolete retribute to make retribution (< Latin retribūtus; see retribution) + -ive
Related forms
retributively, adverb
unretributive, adjective
unretributory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for retributive
  • There is a retributive tone to many of the comments.
  • He engages in retributive vomiting when he's left alone for more than four hours.
  • Community values and interests should be injected into the retributive aspect of sentencing by using juries in sentencing.
  • Although the threat of punishment deters, actual punishment is retributive since it punishes only past offenses.
  • The two guiding philosophies throughout the present century are the retributive and the rehabilitative.
  • Education does not flourish in prisons because of prevailing notions about the punitive and retributive purposes of prisons.
  • However, it can be used instead for retributive purposes or as a means of rehabilitating the offender.
Word Origin and History for retributive

1670s, from retribute + -ive.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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