Etymology
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requital (n.)

"return for some service, kindness, etc.; act of requiting" for good or ill, 1570s, from requite + -al (2).

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revanche (n.)

"revenge," especially in national policy, 1858, from French revanche "requital, revenge" (see revanchist).

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retributive (adj.)

"making or bringing requital, retaliative, characterized by retribution," 1670s, from retribute + -ive. Related: Retributively.

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repay (v.)

mid-15c., repaien, "pay back, refund," from Old French repaier, repaiier, "pay back, give in return," from re- "back" (see re-) + payer "to pay" (see pay (v.)).

The sense of "give (one thing) in return for (another)" is from 1550s; that of "make return, retribution, or requital for," in a good or bad sense is by 1590s. Related: Repaid; repaying; repayable.

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guerdon (n.)

"reward, recompense" (now only poetic), late 14c., from Old French guerdon, guerredon "reward, recompense, payment," from Medieval Latin widerdonum, from Old High German widarlon "recompense," from widar "against," from Proto-Germanic *withro- (see with) + lon "reward," from Proto-Germanic *launam, from PIE *lau- "gain, profit" (see lucre). Compare Old English wiðerlean "requital, compensation." Form influenced in Medieval Latin by Latin donum "gift." Compare Spanish galardon, Italian guiderone.

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revanchist (n.)

1926, "a German seeking to avenge Germany's defeat in World War I and recover lost territory," on model of French revanchiste, which had been used in reference to those in France who sought to reverse the results of the defeat of France by Prussia in 1871 (which was accomplished by World War I).

This is from revanche "revenge, requital," especially in reference to a national policy seeking return of lost territory, from French revanche "revenge," earlier revenche, back-formation from revenchier (see revenge (v.)). Used during the Cold War in Soviet propaganda in reference to West Germany. Related: Revanchism (1954).

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reward (v.)

c. 1300, rewarden, "to grant, bestow;" early 14c. "to give as prize or compensation," from Anglo-French and Old North French rewarder "to regard, reward" (Old French regarder) "take notice of, regard, watch over." This is from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + warder "look, heed, watch," from Frankish or some other Germanic language, from Proto-Germanic *wardon "to guard" (from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for").

Originally any form of requital, good or bad, for service or evil-doing. A doublet of regard (v.), reward was used 14c.-15c. in the senses now given to that word: "look at; care about; consider." Related: Rewarded; rewarding.

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mercy (n.)

late 12c., "God's forgiveness of his creatures' offenses," from Old French mercit, merci (9c.) "reward, gift; kindness, grace, pity," from Latin mercedem (nominative merces) "reward, wages, pay, hire" (in Vulgar Latin "favor, pity;" in Medieval Latin "thanks; grace"), from merx (genitive mercis) "wares, merchandise" (see market (n.)). In Church Latin (6c.) it was given a specific application to the heavenly reward earned by those who show kindness to the helpless and those from whom no requital can be expected.

Meaning "disposition to forgive or show compassion" is attested from early 13c. Sense of "an act or exercise of forbearance or good will" is from c. 1300. As an interjection, attested from mid-13c. (short for may God have mercy, have mercy on me, etc.).  Many of the English senses are found earlier in French, but in French the word largely has been superseded by miséricorde except as a word of thanks. Sense of "discretionary action" (as in at (one's) mercy) is from mid-14c. Seat of mercy "golden covering of the Ark of the Covenant" (1530), hence "the throne of God," is Tyndale's loan-translation of Luther's gnadenstuhl, an inexact translation of Latin propitiatorium, ultimately a rendering of Hebrew kapporeth, literally "propitiatory."

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