reprieve

verb
re·​prieve | \ ri-ˈprēv How to pronounce reprieve (audio) \
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 How to pronounce reprieve (audio) \

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hogan clearly has not done enough to reprieve for his ugly racist remarks in 2015. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, "WWE WrestleMania 37 Results: Hulk Hogan And The Winners, Losers Of Night 2," 12 Apr. 2021 Last August, a parole board declared that Pham, 37, posed no threat to public safety and granted him reprieve. NBC News, "Still reeling from Trump-era policies, groups demand Biden address deportation, refugees," 29 Mar. 2021 The Constitution gives the president the power to pardon and reprieve except in cases of impeachment, and some legal scholars say that wording proscribes Congress placing other limits. Erik Wasson, Houston Chronicle, "Pelosi plans bill to limit pardons in wake of Stone commutation," 11 July 2020 Prior to the recent closure, Yosemite’s longest shutdown — and reprieve for critters — was in 1997 when the park was off limits to the public for two months after winter flooding. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Yosemite reopens to small, but ecstatic crowds after its longest-ever shutdown," 11 June 2020 The hooker ended up hurting himself as a result of his bone-juddering hit on Artemyev but Samoa was again reprieved as Matu'u was also only shown a yellow. Ben Church, CNN, "Samoa escapes double red card as it rallies to win against Russia," 24 Sep. 2019 The Supreme Court will review the legal status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Obama’s reprieves from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before age 16. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "California to Trump: See you in court, with a barrage of lawsuits," 18 Aug. 2019 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 city of Pompano Beach has the perfect recreational activity for restless children who were seeking some kind of reprieve from the COVID-19 lockdown. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Pompano Beach Kids Fishing Club hooking young anglers," 1 Apr. 2021 In a sign of how deeply the last two years have ruptured the city’s way of life, some pro-democracy Hong Kongers have greeted the idea of a reprieve from politics with resignation, or even cautious optimism. New York Times, "Hong Kong, Its Elections Upended, Reconsiders Its Dream of Democracy," 20 Mar. 2021 In a sign of how deeply the past two years have ruptured the city’s way of life, some pro-democracy Hong Kongers have greeted the idea of a reprieve from politics with resignation or even cautious optimism. BostonGlobe.com, "Hong Kong, its elections upended, reconsiders its dream of democracy," 20 Mar. 2021 With notes of green tea and lavender, Stay a While is designed to usher in a sense of reprieve from the hectic hustle and bustle of daily life with its refreshing scent. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Is Launching a Candle Subscription Service," 2 Mar. 2021 The pandemic reprieve is over, Jefferson County property owners. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Your Louisville property value assessment may have increased. Here's how to check," 23 Apr. 2021 Three of the four were given three-year extensions; Redondo Beach’s reprieve was limited to one year, in a concession to Brand and other local officials who opposed any kind of leeway. Los Angeles Times, "How a beachfront gas plant explains California’s energy problems," 1 Apr. 2021 But unless some of the rescue plan’s provisions become permanent, the reprieve will be temporary and, for too many, desperation will return. BostonGlobe.com, "COVID is still with us. So are the bread lines.," 20 Mar. 2021 And the emergence of several worrisome new coronavirus variants with new tricks for spreading faster or evading immune responses presents another possibility: that the current reprieve will only be temporary. Megan Molteni, Wired, "As Coronavirus Variants Spread, the US Struggles to Keep Up," 19 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

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 and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reprieve

Time Traveler for reprieve

Time Traveler

The first known use of reprieve was in 1552

See more words from the same year

Statistics for reprieve

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reprieve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reprieve. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce reprieve (audio) \
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 How to pronounce reprieve (audio) \
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

Comments on reprieve

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!