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Exact revenge vs extract revenge

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  • Exact revenge and extract revenge are two phrases that are commonly confused. We will examine the meanings of these phrases, which one is the correct rendering, and some examples of its use in sentences.

    To exact revenge means to inflict punishment upon someone who has harmed you, to visit retribution on someone who has wronged you. In this phrase, the word exact functions as a verb, meaning to demand and obtain something, most often through the use of force. Related phrases are extracts revenge, extracted revenge, extracting revenge. The word exact is derived from the Latin word exactus, meaning enforce, demand or collect payment. The word revenge is derived from the Old French word revengier, which means avenge.

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    Extract revenge is an eggcorn, which is a misheard word or phrase that retains its original meaning. The use of the term extract revenge is growing surprisingly, though it is an incorrect use of the phrase. Presumably, the use of the verb extract meaning to obtain something is better known than the use of exact meaning to demand and obtain something. Nevertheless, the correct form is currently considered exact revenge.

    Examples

    And Raggi insists he hopes to draw Leicester, so he can exact revenge for the treatment of his compatriot, who signed him for Monaco in 2012. (The Sun)

    The final inning comeback allowed the Hawks to exact revenge on the Seawolves, who eliminated Hartford in last year’s America East Semifinal via walk-off fashion. (The Stony Brook Statesman)

    The use of a political threat was a classic tactic for Mr. Trump, who keeps a running mental tally of his backers and detractors, and frequently boasts of his efforts to exact revenge from those who have crossed him. (The New York Times)

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