c. 1300, from Anglo-French vengeaunce, Old French vengeance, venjance "revenge, retribution" (12c.), from vengier "take revenge," from Latin vindicare "assert a claim, claim as one's own; avenge, punish" (see vindicate).
Vengeance is mine, ... saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. [Paul to the Romans, xii:19-20]
"of or pertaining to punishment by law," mid-15c., from Old French peinal (12c., Modern French pénal) and directly from Medieval Latin penalis, from Latin poenalis "pertaining to punishment," from poena "punishment," from Greek poinē "blood-money, fine, penalty, punishment," from PIE *kwoina, from root *kwei- "to pay, atone, compensate" (source also of Greek timē "price, worth, honor, esteem, respect," tinein "to pay a price, punish, take vengeance;" Sanskrit cinoti "observes, notes;" Avestan kaena "punishment, vengeance;" Old Church Slavonic cena "honor, price;" Lithuanian kaina "value, price").
late 14c., revengen, "avenge oneself," from Old French revengier, revenger, variants of revenchier "take revenge, avenge" (13c., Modern French revancher), from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + vengier "take revenge," from Latin vindicare "to lay claim to, avenge, punish" (see vindication). Transitive sense of "take vengeance on account of" is from early 15c. Related: Revenged; revenging; revengement.
To avenge is "to get revenge" or "to take vengeance"; it suggests the administration of just punishment for a criminal or immoral act. Revenge seems to stress the idea of retaliation a bit more strongly and implies real hatred as its motivation. ["The Columbia Guide to Standard American English," 1993]
c. 1300, punishen, "inflict a penalty on," from Old French puniss-, extended present-participle stem of punir "to punish," from Latin punire "punish, correct, chastise; take vengeance for; inflict a penalty on, cause pain for some offense," earlier poenire, from poena "penalty, punishment" (see penal). Colloquial meaning "to inflict heavy damage or loss" is recorded from 1801, originally in pugilism. Related: Punished; punishing.
1570s, Nemesis, "Greek goddess of vengeance, personification of divine wrath," from Greek nemesis "just indignation, righteous anger," literally "distribution" (of what is due), related to nemein "distribute, allot, apportion one's due," from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take." The notion is "divine allotment to everyone of his share of fortune, good or bad." With a lower-case -n-, in the sense of "retributive justice," attested from 1590s. General sense of "anything by which it seems one must be defeated" is by 1930.
late 15c., "act of avenging, revenge," from Old French vindicacion "vengeance, revenge" and directly from Latin vindicationem (nominative vindicatio) "act of claiming or avenging," noun of action from past participle stem of vindicare "lay claim to, assert; claim for freedom, set free; protect, defend; avenge" (related to vindicta "revenge"), probably from vim dicare "to show authority," from vim, accusative of vis "force" (see vim) + dicare "to proclaim" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly," and see diction). Meaning "justification by proof, defense against censure" is attested from 1640s.