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Meaning of retributivism

re•trib•u•tiv•ism

Pronunciation: (ri-trib'yu-tu-viz"um), [key]
— n.
  1. a policy or theory of criminal justice that advocates the punishment of criminals in retribution for the harm they have inflicted.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.