reprieve

verb
re·​prieve | \ri-ˈprēv \
reprieved; reprieving

Definition of reprieve 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to delay the punishment of (someone, such as a condemned prisoner)

2 : to give relief or deliverance to for a time

reprieve

noun
re·​prieve | \ri-ˈprēv \

Definition of reprieve (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act of reprieving : the state of being reprieved

b : a formal temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence especially of death

2 : an order or warrant for a temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence

3 : a temporary respite (as from pain or trouble)

Examples of reprieve in a Sentence

Verb

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 In a postscript to the very same letter, he added, 'If he must die, it were charity to reprieve him till Saturday.' If there had been any doubt of his fate, this weakness and meanness would have settled it. The very next day, which was the twelfth of May, he was brought out to be beheaded on Tower Hill. — Charles Dickens, A Child's History of England, 1854 He was sentenced to death but then reprieved. The library has been reprieved and will remain open for at least another year.

Noun

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 Six days later Captain Dufranne announced that they would sail early on the morrow. Jane would have begged for a further reprieve, had it not been that she too had begun to believe that her forest lover would return no more. — Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, 1914 It may be, on the other hand, that the destruction of the Martians is only a reprieve. To them, and not to us, perhaps, is the future ordained. — H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, 1898 That he did not regard it as a desperate case, that he did not say a few hours must end it, was at first felt, beyond the hope of most; and the ecstasy of such a reprieve, the rejoicing, deep and silent, after a few fervent ejaculations of gratitude to Heaven had been offered, may be conceived. — Jane Austen, Persuasion, 1817 Death, that inexorable judge, had passed sentence on him, and refused to grant him a reprieve, though two doctors who arrived, and were fee'd at one and the same instant, were his counsel. — Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, 1749 They wanted to close the library, but we managed to get a reprieve for it. This warm spell has given us a reprieve from the winter cold.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tyner, luckily, was reprieved; such stories aren’t foreign to the longtime Philadelphia radio personality. Brandon T. Harden, Philly.com, "Rare interviews of Run DMC, The Roots, Jay-Z, and others have been unearthed through this Philly radio host's new podcast," 25 Apr. 2018 Reprieved from collapse, the Ottoman Empire’s government pursued radical reforms. The Economist, "If the Ottoman Empire had not collapsedHad the Ottoman Empire been saved rather than sunk," 13 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The agency did offer a limited reprieve for people working in Canada’s new industry, though. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Canada is about to legalize cannabis; here’s what you need to know," 14 Oct. 2018 Just as half time approached, Inter had a reprieve, as Blaise Matuidi was rightly deemed by the VAR to be offside after finding the net from close range. SI.com, "Juventus Comes Back From 2-1 Deficit to Beat 10-Man Inter," 28 Apr. 2018 Hosted annually at the Potrero del Sol Park, tucked into a quiet corner of the Mission District, the family-friendly event offered a reprieve from the usual crush of people and noise at the Bay Area’s larger music festivals for the past seven years. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, "Phono del Sol Music Festival will not return this year," 20 Apr. 2018 The reprieve your seeking will come in the form of a new moon on Monday, October 8. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 In a bid to fix the agency, Baker pushed a hesitant Legislature to grant the T a three-year reprieve from the law, arguing the agency would benefit from privatizing some functions. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "MBTA loses reprieve from outsourcing restriction," 6 July 2018 Gab got a reprieve when the Gab user behind the posts agreed to take them down. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Gab forced offline over apparent tie to Pittsburgh synagogue shooter," 29 Oct. 2018 The plant was shut down again in 2010 over environmental concerns, but won a reprieve from a higher court. Parth M.n., latimes.com, "Indian court stops construction at copper plant after 11 killed in protests," 23 May 2018 Butts had been scheduled to die Thursday, but won a short reprieve when the state Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a stay Wednesday to allow it extra time to weigh Butt's clemency request. Fox News, "Georgia prepares to execute man for killing 22 years ago," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reprieve.' 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 reprieve

Verb

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for reprieve

Verb

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

Noun

see reprieve entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near reprieve

repressurize

reprice

reprieval

reprieve

reprimand

reprint

reprinter

Statistics for reprieve

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Time Traveler for reprieve

The first known use of reprieve was in 1552

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More Definitions for reprieve

reprieve

verb

English Language Learners Definition of reprieve

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

reprieve

noun

English Language Learners Definition of reprieve (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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.

reprieve

verb
re·​prieve | \ri-ˈprēv \
reprieved; reprieving

Kids Definition of reprieve

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to delay something (as the punishment of a prisoner sentenced to die)

2 : to give relief to We were reprieved when a storm closed school on test day.

reprieve

noun

Kids Definition of reprieve (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of postponing something

2 : a temporary relief Rain brought a reprieve from the heat.

reprieve

transitive verb
re·​prieve | \ri-ˈprēv \
reprieved; reprieving

Legal Definition of reprieve 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to delay the punishment of (as a condemned prisoner)

reprieve

noun

Legal Definition of reprieve (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act of reprieving : the state of being reprieved

b : a formal temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence especially of death as an act of clemency

2 : an order or warrant of reprieve

History and Etymology for reprieve

Transitive verb

alteration of earlier repry to send back (to prison), return to custody, perhaps from Anglo-French repris, past participle of reprendre to take back, from Old French

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More from Merriam-Webster on reprieve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reprieve

Spanish Central: Translation of reprieve

Nglish: Translation of reprieve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reprieve for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reprieve

Comments on reprieve

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