verb re·prieve \ri-ˈprēv\

: to delay the punishment of (someone, such as a prisoner who is sentenced to death)

: to prevent (something) from being closed, destroyed, etc., for a period of time


Full Definition of REPRIEVE

transitive verb
:  to delay the punishment of (as a condemned prisoner)
:  to give relief or deliverance to for a time

Examples of REPRIEVE

  1. He was sentenced to death but then reprieved.
  2. The library has been reprieved and will remain open for at least another year.
  3. And many murderers have been reprieved because they were condemned for the wrong murder, quite probably just as many as have been executed for the only murder they did not in fact commit. —Christopher Hitchens, Nation, 14 May 2001

Origin of REPRIEVE

probably blend of obsolete repreve to reprove (from Middle English) and obsolete repry to remand, postpone, from Anglo-French repri-, past stem of reprendre to take back
First Known Use: 1596

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


noun re·prieve \ri-ˈprēv\

: an official order that delays the punishment of a prisoner who is sentenced to death

: a delay that keeps something bad from happening

: a period of relief from pain, trouble, etc.

Full Definition of REPRIEVE

a :  the act of reprieving (see 1reprieve):  the state of being reprieved
b :  a formal temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence especially of death
:  an order or warrant for a temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence
:  a temporary respite (as from pain or trouble)

Examples of REPRIEVE

  1. They wanted to close the library, but we managed to get a reprieve for it.
  2. This warm spell has given us a reprieve from the winter cold.
  3. In Baghdad, you learn to savor small pleasures. When the weather turned unexpectedly cool one recent evening … , people emptied out of their houses, braving the ever present threat of violence in order to enjoy a brief reprieve from the heat. —Aparisim Ghosh, Time, 11 July 2005

Origin of REPRIEVE

(see 1reprieve)
First Known Use: 1592


Next Word in the Dictionary: reprimand (noun)Previous Word in the Dictionary: reprievalAll Words Near: reprieve
May 24, 2015
erudite Hear it
learned or pedantic
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