noun re·pri·sal \ri-ˈprī-zəl\

: something that is done to hurt or punish someone who has hurt you or done something bad to you

Full Definition of REPRISAL

a :  the act or practice in international law of resorting to force short of war in retaliation for damage or loss suffered
b :  an instance of such action
obsolete :  prize
:  the regaining of something (as by recapture)
:  something (as a sum of money) given or paid in restitution —usually used in plural
:  a retaliatory act

Examples of REPRISAL

  1. Enemy officers suffered harsh reprisals.
  2. The allies threatened economic reprisals against the invading country.
  3. The hostages were taken in reprisal for the bombing.

Origin of REPRISAL

Middle English reprisail, from Anglo-French reprisaile, from Medieval Latin represalia, from Old Italian rappresaglia, ultimately from ripreso, past participle of riprendere to take back, from ri- re- (from Latin re-) + prendere to take, from Latin prehendere — more at get
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Government and Politics Terms

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

Rhymes with REPRISAL

REPRISAL Defined for Kids


noun re·pri·sal \ri-ˈprī-zəl\

Definition of REPRISAL for Kids

:  an act in return for harm done by another :  an act of revenge


Next Word in the Dictionary: reprise (noun)Previous Word in the Dictionary: reprinterAll Words Near: reprisal
July 27, 2015
yaw Hear it
to move off course or to alternate
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears