reprisal

noun re·pri·sal \ ri-ˈprī-zəl \
|Updated on: 17 Jul 2018

Definition of reprisal

1 a : 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

Examples of reprisal in a Sentence

  1. Enemy officers suffered harsh reprisals.

  2. The allies threatened economic reprisals against the invading country.

  3. The hostages were taken in reprisal for the bombing.

Recent Examples of reprisal from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

REPRISAL Defined for English Language Learners

reprisal

Definition of reprisal for English Language Learners

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


REPRISAL Defined for Kids

reprisal

noun re·pri·sal \ ri-ˈprī-zəl \

Definition of reprisal for Students

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

Law Dictionary

reprisal

noun re·pri·sal \ ri-ˈprī-zəl \

legal Definition of reprisal

1 a : 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

Origin and Etymology of 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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