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Vengeful vs. Revengeful: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Janet White || Updated on May 22, 2024
Vengeful describes a strong desire to seek vengeance, often driven by anger or resentment, while revengeful means being inclined to seek revenge, with an emphasis on the act of retaliation itself.

Key Differences

Vengeful refers to a state of harboring intense desire for revenge, often fueled by deep-seated anger or resentment. A vengeful person is focused on seeking vengeance and may be driven by a strong emotional urge to right a perceived wrong. Revengeful, on the other hand, specifically denotes the inclination to take revenge, focusing more on the act of retaliation. A revengeful person is inclined to engage in acts of revenge, highlighting the intent to retaliate rather than the emotional state behind it.
While both terms involve the concept of seeking revenge, vengeful is more about the emotional state of desiring revenge, whereas revengeful is about the inclination or tendency to act on that desire. Vengeful is often used to describe a person’s character or nature, whereas revengeful is more frequently used to describe actions or intentions.
Vengeful implies a deeper, more sustained feeling of resentment, while revengeful emphasizes the intention to carry out acts of retaliation. In summary, vengeful is about the emotional drive for revenge, while revengeful is about the action-oriented mindset of seeking revenge.

Comparison Chart


Harboring a strong desire for revenge
Inclined to take revenge


Emotional state and desire
Act of retaliation


Sustained anger or resentment
Intent to retaliate


Describes character or nature
Describes actions or intentions


Deep-seated, ongoing feeling
Inclination towards retaliatory actions

Example Context

A vengeful person seeks to harm those who wronged them
A revengeful person plans acts of retaliation

Vengeful and Revengeful Definitions


Inclined to seek vengeance over perceived wrongs.
The vengeful employee tried to sabotage the company after being fired.


Inclined to take revenge.
The revengeful man carefully planned his retaliation.


Describing a character trait marked by a desire for retribution.
She had a vengeful streak that often got her into trouble.


Focused on carrying out acts of revenge.
He became revengeful after being wronged by his colleagues.


Driven by intense anger or resentment.
His vengeful nature made him difficult to be around.


Describing behavior marked by seeking retribution.
The revengeful attacks escalated the conflict.


Harboring a strong desire for revenge.
The vengeful woman plotted her ex-partner's downfall.


Characterized by an intent to retaliate.
Her revengeful actions caused a rift in the family.


Focused on the emotional drive for revenge.
The vengeful glare in his eyes was unmistakable.


Highlighting the intent to inflict harm in response to a grievance.
His revengeful plot was revealed before he could act.


Desiring vengeance; vindictive
Epidemics seen as acts of a vengeful God.


Full of or given to revenge.


Characterized by or stemming from a desire for revenge
A vengeful attack by a spurned lover.
Vengeful anger.


Vengeful, vindictive.


Serving to exact vengeance
A vengeful sword.


Full of, or prone to, revenge; vindictive; malicious; revenging; wreaking revenge.
If thy revengeful heart can not forgive.
May my hands . . . Never brandish more revengeful steel.


Vindictive or wanting vengeance.
His chains now broken, the prisoner turned a vengeful eye toward his former captors.


Disposed to seek revenge or intended for revenge;
More vindictive than jealous love
Punishments...essentially vindictive in their nature


Vindictive; retributive; revengeful.


Disposed to seek revenge or intended for revenge;
More vindictive than jealous love
Punishments...essentially vindictive in their nature


Is revengeful about actions?

Yes, revengeful emphasizes the inclination to carry out acts of revenge.

Can a person be both vengeful and revengeful?

Yes, a person can have a strong desire for revenge (vengeful) and also be inclined to act on it (revengeful).

Is vengeful an emotional state?

Yes, vengeful describes an emotional state of desiring revenge.

Is vengeful more about emotions or actions?

Vengeful is more about emotions.

What does vengeful mean?

Vengeful means harboring a strong desire for revenge, driven by anger or resentment.

What does revengeful mean?

Revengeful means being inclined to take revenge, focusing on the act of retaliation.

Does revengeful imply immediate action?

Revengeful implies an intent to take retaliatory action.

Is vengeful used to describe character?

Yes, vengeful often describes a person's character or nature.

Does vengeful imply ongoing feelings?

Yes, vengeful implies a sustained feeling of anger or resentment.

Can revengeful be used in a positive sense?

No, revengeful typically has a negative connotation.

Is revengeful used to describe behavior?

Yes, revengeful is used to describe actions or intentions related to seeking revenge.

Can vengeful be used in a positive sense?

Generally, vengeful has a negative connotation.

Can revengeful describe a temporary intention?

Yes, it can describe a temporary intention to seek revenge.

Is revengeful commonly used in everyday language?

Yes, revengeful is used to describe people’s inclinations towards revenge in everyday contexts.

Can vengeful apply to non-personal contexts?

Yes, vengeful can describe attitudes or actions in broader contexts, like politics or business.

Is revengeful more about emotions or actions?

Revengeful is more about actions.

Is vengeful commonly used in literature?

Yes, vengeful is often used in literary contexts to describe deep-seated desires for revenge.

Do both terms imply negative outcomes?

Yes, both vengeful and revengeful imply negative outcomes due to the nature of seeking revenge.

Can revengeful apply to non-personal contexts?

Yes, revengeful can describe retaliatory actions in various contexts, such as conflicts or disputes.

Can vengeful describe a temporary feeling?

It can, but it usually implies a deeper, more sustained feeling.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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