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Punning blend of pre- +‎ revenge.


prevenge (uncountable)

  1. (humorous) The act of taking, or an action taken against someone or something, ostensibly in retaliation for another act that has not yet been committed; pre-emptive action characterized as revenge.
    Anticipating Wally's inevitable sarcasm, Boris let fly with a few cutting remarks in a stunning act of prevenge.
    • 2007, Susie Dent, The Language Report, Oxford University Press, p. 140:
      Prevenge: the act of getting one's retaliation in first.
    • 2008, Duncan Campbell-Smith, Follow the Money: a History of the Audit Commission, Penguin UK (pages not numbered):
      They would go for what was jokingly tagged 'pre-venge'.
    • 2013, Jeff Ayers, Long Overdue, StoneHouse Ink, Chapter 3 (pages not numbered):
      You aren't planning prevenge, are you? . . . You know, prevenge, the state of creating revenge before the need exists.
    • 2015, Wendy A. Burns-Ardolino, TV Female Foursomes and Their Fans, McFarland, p. 25:
      Excess is exhibited in these shows: by unruly woman Max and her "prevenge" rather than revenge logic . . .
    • 2016, Michael Eric Dyson, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, p. 142:
      Obama also had to make amends as much as possible for Bush's aggressive philosophy of preemption, which really amounted to "prevenge"—getting back at someone he feared might even think about harming our nation before they could act.

Usage notes[edit]

  • According to The Language Report, the word has been in use since the late 1990s.


See also[edit]