re·​po | \ ˈrē-ˌpō \

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

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 Police say Mathurin fired several shots but missed hitting the repo man. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Man arrested after shooting at a repo man in a Walmart parking lot | Miami Herald," 9 Mar. 2018 After the family left, repo men showed up for their two cars, and their house was foreclosed. Times Staff,, "'Depraved' child abuse and torture were hidden in the Turpin household for years, officials say. Many ask how," 25 Jan. 2018 The new rates are meant to provide a more reliable data set for overnight borrowing costs across Wall Street, principally for participants in the repurchase agreement, or repo, market. Katy Burne, WSJ, "Fed Seeks Comment on Three Proposed Borrowing Benchmarks," 24 Aug. 2017 The company this past May formed a new unit with a separate governance team to oversee the repo business, acknowledging its unique role and responsibility. Katy Burne, WSJ, "New Worry in ‘Repo’: Just One Bank for $3.5 Trillion Market," 30 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The central bank raised the one-week repo rate—the benchmark policy rate—to 17.75% from 16.5%. Yeliz Candemir, WSJ, "Turkey Raises Main Interest Rate, at Odds With Erdoğan’s Pledge," 7 June 2018 Just weeks after getting her truck out of repo and starting a part-time job in the cafe at Sam’s Club, Pruett called 911 with an attack of excruciating abdominal pain. Marcella Bombardieri, The Atlantic, "One College's Struggle to Get Poor Students Through School," 30 May 2018 The New York Fed’s new rate is based on the rates in the active market for a kind of short term-loan known as a repurchase agreement, or repo, which uses Treasury securities as collateral. The New York Times, New York Times, "White House to List Chinese Products Facing Tariffs and the March Jobs Report," 1 Apr. 2018 Troubles at those firms and others, driven in part by their exposure to subprime-lending losses and reliance on short-term loans to fund longer-term investments, helped pave the way for an updated repo market. Katy Burne, WSJ, "New Worry in ‘Repo’: Just One Bank for $3.5 Trillion Market," 30 Aug. 2017 The South African Reserve Bank on Thursday kept its main repo rate at 6.75% and revised its 2017 growth forecast up slightly. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "South Africa Keeps Main Repo Rate on Hold," 21 Sep. 2017

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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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

: 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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