1. The principle that punishment should be equivalent or identical to the offense committed.
2. The imposition of such a punishment.
[Middle English talioun, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin tāliō, tāliōn-; see telə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.