re·​po | \ ˈrē-ˌpō How to pronounce repo (audio) \

Definition of repo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or being in the business of repossessing property (such as a car) from buyers who have defaulted on payments a repo company


plural repos

Definition of repo (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of repo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

John Heinkel, a professional repo man with a full head of graying hair and a small and scrappy build, hoists a Lime scooter on its back wheel, setting off the alarm underneath the scooter’s brake. Amy Martyn, The Verge, "They said you could leave electric scooters anywhere — then the repo men struck back," 24 July 2019 During the attack, two other repo men arrived and found their colleague bleeding, police said. Lynh Bui, Washington Post, "Repo men attacked while trying to collect Maryland man’s tow truck," 19 June 2019 The central bank increased the repo rate by 25 basis points to -0.25% and flattened the repo rate path significantly at its latest monetary policy meeting. WSJ, "European Forex and Fixed Income Market Talk Roundup," 9 Jan. 2019 All of the 10 economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expect the central bank to keep the benchmark 7-day reverse repo rate at 6.0% also because the global economic growth this year isn’t expected to be as rosy as predicted earlier. I Made Sentana, WSJ, "Bank Indonesia Likely to Keep Rate Steady on Thursday: Poll," 16 Jan. 2019 Within the investment bank last year, some executives privately complained that repo exposures were less risky than the Fed depicted them, spurring debate over how much to dial back, some of the people with knowledge of internal discussions said. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Deutsche Bank’s U.S. Operations Deemed Troubled by Fed," 1 June 2018 When investors questioned the value of those securities, the repo market froze up. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Yale Professor Who Had Controversial Role in the Crisis Now Teaches About It," 11 May 2018 The government estimates that some 27,000 people watched the repo man come and take away their wheels, often their only way to get to a job — all for a scam that fed the massive vampire squid of Wells Fargo profits. Will Bunch,, "Wells Fargo has been ripping off customers. Why do 76ers, Flyers play in a shrine named for the banking company? | Will Bunch," 22 Apr. 2018 That is, the rate on excess reserves held by banks at the Fed and the reverse repo facility, which is primarily aimed at money-market funds., "Soaring Treasury Bill Rates to Test Markets, Warns HSBC's Major," 8 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Stuck doing repo for a rent-to-own store, the pals pursue such absurd side hustles as selling black-market Viagra at nursing homes. Judy Berman, Time, "This Late-Night Comedy Duo Created Two of the Summer's Funniest New Shows," 18 July 2019 Last time China’s money markets got worried about counterparty risk—following brokerage Sealand Securities’ initial refusal to pay out on a repo-like agreement in late 2016—the Fed was in tightening mode. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Warning Lights Are Flashing In China’s Money Market," 18 June 2019 Consulting firm Oliver Wyman warned earlier this year that repo and prime margins would come under pressure. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Investment Banks’ Secret Cash Cow," 23 Nov. 2018 When averaged over time, Treasury repo rates are less volatile than U.S. dollar Libor, the statement said. Daniel Kruger And Telis Demos, WSJ, "The Benchmark Set to Replace Libor Suffers Volatility Spike," 11 Feb. 2019 Coalition forecasts a 10% fall in top banks’ repo revenues by the year-end, in part because European regional banks are escaping domestic problems by ramping up international distribution. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Investment Banks’ Secret Cash Cow," 23 Nov. 2018 The central bank increased the repo rate by 25 basis points to -0.25% and flattened the repo rate path significantly at its latest monetary policy meeting. WSJ, "European Forex and Fixed Income Market Talk Roundup," 9 Jan. 2019 In 2014 and 2015, the future of repo—traditionally a high-volume, low-margin business—seemed at risk. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Investment Banks’ Secret Cash Cow," 23 Nov. 2018 One-day bond repo volumes have skyrocketed, notching a new monthly high in July following steep falls in late 2016 and early 2017 during the height of the deleveraging push. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Trump’s Narrow Window for Trade Wins in China," 2 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'repo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of repo


1954, in the meaning defined above


1956, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for repo


short for repossession


by shortening & alteration

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Last Updated

27 Jul 2019

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The first known use of repo was in 1954

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Financial Definition of repo

What It Is

A repurchase agreement is the sale of a security combined with an agreement to repurchase the same security at a higher price at a future date.  It is also referred to as a "repo."

How It Works

For example, trader A may sell a specific security to trader B for a set price and agree to buy back the security for a specified amount at a later date.  In actuality, however, the sale is not a real sale, but rather a loan, secured by the security.  As with collateralized loans, the security being used as collateral is "held" by trader B (in case trader A defaults and does not repayment the amount to trader A.)  The incremental amount to be repaid by trader A to repurchase the security is the amount of "interest" earned on the loan by trader B.

Repos are usually very short term transactions, mostly with overnight terms although some extend for a period of years.  For short term repos, the risks are very low.  For longer long repos, with the possibility of fluctuations in the market, collateral risk is much higher.

Why It Matters

Repurchase agreements have grown into a very large portion of the money markets, fueling the growth of short-term markets for mutual funds in trading government-backed securities, such as T-bills. Indeed, the Treasury, through its Federal Reserve bank banking system, is a large purchaser of repos, providing important liquidity for short-term market traders.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of repo

US, informal : of or relating to the business of taking property from people who have stopped making the payments that they agreed to make to pay for it


re·​po | \ ˈrē-ˌpō\
plural repos

Legal Definition of repo

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with repo

Comments on repo

What made you want to look up repo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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