reprisal

noun
re·​pri·​sal | \ ri-ˈprī-zəl How to pronounce reprisal (audio) \

Definition of reprisal

1 : a retaliatory act
2 : the regaining of something (as by recapture)
3 : something (such as a sum of money) given or paid in restitution usually used in plural
4a : 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
5 obsolete : prize

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 With the fall of Kabul in August, that threat of reprisal became suddenly, palpably real. Martha Raddatz, ABC News, 26 Dec. 2021 Whereas the former emphasized what would now be considered restorative justice (an approach that seeks to repair harm caused by a crime), the latter focused on harsh reprisal, meting out swift executions for suspects found guilty. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Nov. 2021 There was another familiar element: The newspaper reported that harassment and discrimination were coupled with reprisal against anyone who dared speak out. Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY, 26 Nov. 2021 The beloved, smash hit Modern Warfare reprisal only scored about an 80-81 when it was released in 2019. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 Entertainment Weekly unveiled a sneak peek at Germann's reprisal. Dory Jackson, PEOPLE.com, 5 Nov. 2021 In turn, the algorithm becomes an easy target for blame, censure, or reprisal. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 22 Oct. 2021 Loughlin's reprisal as Stanton will be her first time acting onscreen in more than two years. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 29 Sep. 2021 Conley also said Burnett didn’t provide any evidence to support her claims of score settling, fear of reprisal or politics at play. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Sep. 2021

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 4a

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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Time Traveler for reprisal

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

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Dictionary Entries Near reprisal

reprinter

reprisal

reprise

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Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

1 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Reprisal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reprisal. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce reprisal (audio) \

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 How to pronounce reprisal (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on reprisal

Nglish: Translation of reprisal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reprisal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reprisal

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