avenge, revenge

AVENGE, REVENGE

By LAWRENCE FELLOWS

To avenge is to vindicate, to take vengeance on someone who has caused an injury or committed a wrong. It is generally used in the sense of achieving justice, or making the culprit suffer something more or less equivalent to his offense, whereas revenge is the satisfying of the offended party’s resentment, his wish to get even.

By a single act, a wrong may be avenged and the victim gets his revenge. To judge from the news, we’ve been getting a lot of both lately, but we ought to be trying to avoid both in a law-abiding society.

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The Writer's Stylebook is a unique collaboration between two former journalists -- my father, Lawrence, and me. Mr. Fellows, an impassioned wordsmith and journalist of long standing, created the original Stylebook, which he distributed to Connecticut newspapers and worked on for over a decade until his death 16 years ago. In 2003, the Connecticut Press Club published "Wordwatch: A Writer's Guide to Linguistic Distinctions," a compendium of nearly 300 of my father's word features. Unfortunately, that book is out of print and my father's features have been languishing in the attic of our family home in Westport -- until now. With the blessing of my mother, Ruth, I'm reviving the Stylebook and putting it online in the hope that it will find new readers. I think there's a need for a lively, illustrated guide to words and word usages that isn't wordy -- especially in today's fast-paced world!

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