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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Like the other witnesses quoted in this story, her full name is being withheld by the Inquirer and Daily News at the request of activists who say the witnesses may face potential reprisals. Jeremy Roebuck, Philly.com, "Ex-child soldiers say Delco man turned them into killers," 19 June 2018 West, however, has yet to face such industry reprisals. August Brown, latimes.com, "Could Kanye West's latest backlash put his career in the sunken place?," 9 May 2018 An incorrect utterance can lead to swift, career-ending reprisals. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "If America Is Divided, So Is Europe," 6 July 2018 Deadline reports that the show's original cast will also return for the reprisal. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "Fox Just Announced the 'Last Man Standing' Premiere Date," 28 June 2018 Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, has penned an op-ed for The New York Times making a strident case for a much more aggressive reprisals against America’s trading partners, including longstanding allies. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Top Trump advisor is itching to escalate trade war.," 8 June 2018 This led to massive reprisals against Rohingya people at large. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Horror in Burma," 13 Feb. 2018 Public processes undertaken by the victims and perpetrators like this could be a more constructive outlet for reprisals against decades of injustice than the current hodgepodge accuse-and-destroy or pass-along-rumors method. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "A Radical Idea for Predatory Men: Confession, then Amnesty," 16 Jan. 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.

See More

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reprisal

Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reprisal

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on reprisal

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

WORD OF THE DAY

lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!