A quote from Oxford Advanced Learer's Dictionary of Current English:

avenge vt get or take vengeance for: ~ an insult; ~ oneself / be ~d on an enemy (for an injury, etc). He ~d his father’s death upon the murderer, punished the murderer.

My question is: Why does 'be avenged' (in the passive voice, though) mean 'get or take vengeance' (in the active voice)? Why is 'avenge' used in the passive voice?


If someone avenges your injury or insult for instance, you will be avenged, that is, you will be the "beneficiary" of revenge.

From: Divinity Compromised: A Study...:

A man who is angry will want reparation made for the injury and some amends, and punishment meted out, so that he may be avenged.

From Crime and Punisshment in Ancient Rome:

In primitive society a wrong was a private matter to be avenged by direct retaliation by the victim or, if he had not survived, by his family

  • Thank you very much, user5768790. Is the way of saying possible? That is, someone avenged me, so I was avenged by someone. – AuAg Mar 10 '18 at 8:02
  • @AuAg - yes, both constructions are correct. See see for a few usage examples: books.google.com/ngrams/… – user 66974 Mar 10 '18 at 8:33

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