reprisal

noun
re·​pri·​sal | \ri-ˈprī-zəl \

Definition of reprisal 

1a : the act or practice in international law of resorting to force short of war in retaliation for damage or loss suffered

b : an instance of such action

2 obsolete : prize

3 : the regaining of something (as by recapture)

4 : something (such as a sum of money) given or paid in restitution usually used in plural

5 : a retaliatory act

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Examples of reprisal in a Sentence

Enemy officers suffered harsh reprisals. The allies threatened economic reprisals against the invading country. The hostages were taken in reprisal for the bombing.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ars granted anonymity as this person feared reprisal from Tesla. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Ex-SolarCity employees: We were fired after reporting millions in fake sales," 31 July 2018 The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media and the witnesses for fear of reprisals. NBC News, "Saudi-led forces seize airport in Yemen port city of Hodeida," 16 June 2018 After the war the Palestinian community in Kuwait faced harsh reprisals from the Kuwaiti government, as well as from ordinary citizens, many of whom suspected their Palestinian neighbors of collaborating with the Iraqi occupiers. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012 After an insurgent group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched several early morning attacks on state security forces on Aug. 25, 2017, the Myanmar military carried out brutal reprisals targeting Rohingya civilians. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "Myanmar Military Officials Implicated in Crimes Against Humanity for Role in Rohingya Violence," 28 June 2018 The promise of Loopy Doopy, atop the Conrad Hotel, is childhood’s reprisal. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, "Childhood’s Reprisal at Loopy Doopy," 15 June 2018 Chlorine, in contrast, has been used more widely in Syria's conflict without past U.S. reprisals and is far easier to find and weaponize, experts say. Anchorage Daily News, "Putin predicts global ‘chaos’ if West hits Syria again," 15 Apr. 2018 An already difficult battle plan -- which required hitting Assad without provoking Russian reprisals or injecting the U.S. further into Syria's seven-year civil war - was getting harder. chicagotribune.com, "Warship ruse and new stealth missiles: How the Syria attack unfolded," 14 Apr. 2018 By engaging in a war of accusations, the United States entered a centuries-old debate about who counts as a real Muslim, with potentially violent reprisals for those who don’t. Ian M. Hartshorn And Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Washington Post, "Here’s what happens when diplomats get involved in religious rhetoric," 11 Apr. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for reprisal

Middle English reprisail, from Anglo-French reprisaile, from Medieval Latin represalia, from Old Italian rappresaglia, ultimately from ripreso, past participle of riprendere to take back, from ri- re- (from Latin re-) + prendere to take, from Latin prehendere — more at get

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Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for reprisal

The first known use of reprisal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for reprisal

reprisal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of reprisal

: something that is done to hurt or punish someone who has hurt you or done something bad to you

reprisal

noun
re·​pri·​sal | \ri-ˈprī-zəl \

Kids Definition of reprisal

: an act in return for harm done by another : an act of revenge

reprisal

noun
re·​pri·​sal | \ri-ˈprī-zəl \

Legal Definition of reprisal 

1a : the act or practice in international law of resorting to force short of war in retaliation for damage or loss suffered

b : an instance of such action

2 : a retaliatory act may not fire a complaining employee in reprisal

History and Etymology for reprisal

Anglo-French reprisaile reprisaille, from Middle French, from Old Italian ripresaglia, from ripreso, past participle of riprendere to take back, from ri- back + prendere to take, from Latin prehendere

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