1

reprieve

verb re·prieve \ ri-ˈprēv \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of reprieve

reprieved; reprieving
transitive verb
1 : to delay the punishment of (someone, such as a condemned prisoner)
2 : to give relief or deliverance to for a time

Examples of reprieve in a Sentence

  1. 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 HitchensNation14 May 2001
  2. 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 DickensA Child's History of England1854
  3. He was sentenced to death but then reprieved.

  4. The library has been reprieved and will remain open for at least another year.

Recent Examples of reprieve from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology 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

2

reprieve

noun re·prieve \ ri-ˈprēv \

Definition of reprieve

1 a : 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

  1. 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 GhoshTime11 July 2005
  2. 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 BurroughsTarzan of the Apes1914
  3. 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. WellsThe War of the Worlds1898
  4. 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 AustenPersuasion1817
  5. 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 FieldingTom Jones1749
  6. They wanted to close the library, but we managed to get a reprieve for it.

  7. This warm spell has given us a reprieve from the winter cold.

Recent Examples of reprieve from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of reprieve


REPRIEVE Defined for English Language Learners

reprieve

verb

Definition of reprieve for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of reprieve for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

reprieve

verb re·prieve \ ri-ˈprēv \

Definition of reprieve for Students

reprieved; reprieving
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.

2

reprieve

noun

Definition of reprieve for Students

1 : the act of postponing something
2 : a temporary relief
  • Rain brought a reprieve from the heat.

Law Dictionary

1

reprieve

transitive verb re·prieve \ ri-ˈprēv \

legal Definition of reprieve

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

Origin and Etymology of reprieve

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

2

reprieve

noun

legal Definition of reprieve

1 a : 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


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