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

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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 During his interview with Kyle Olson, Sabato, Jr. vowed that his studio will depart from this norm, allowing actors to hold differing political beliefs without fear of reprisal. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Trump-supporting actor Antonio Sabato Jr. boasts conservative film company will 'support our country'," 23 Dec. 2020 Inform employees about how COVID-19 is transmitted and how to limit transmission. Ask employees to report to the employer, without fear of reprisal, COVID-19 symptoms, possible COVID-19 exposure, and possible COVID-19 workplace hazards. Dan Eaton, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Employers have new emergency safety rules to follow for COVID," 7 Dec. 2020 Numerous independent Ethiopian political analysts declined to comment for this article for fear of reprisal. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Ethiopia’s war in Tigray shows no signs of abating despite government’s victory claims," 4 Dec. 2020 But in May this year, Chinese state tabloid the Global Times singled out Apple, Cisco, Qualcomm, and Boeing as companies that may be subject to reprisal. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "If the U.S. cripples Huawei, will China retaliate against Apple?," 15 Sep. 2020 An Amnesty press officer told CNN the witnesses spoke anonymously for fear of reprisal. Cnn's Eoin Mcsweeney And Bethlehem Feleke, CNN, "Mass killing of civilians in Ethiopia's Tigray region, says Amnesty International," 12 Nov. 2020 This man, like seven other translators interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Washington Post, "They served alongside U.S. soldiers. Now they fear that Iran’s allies in Iraq will strike back.," 12 Nov. 2020 Globally, the number of journalists murdered in reprisal for their work was the lowest in 2019 that CPJ has recorded in any year since 1992. Wired Staff, Wired, "One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack," 1 Nov. 2020 The employee — who did not give his name for fear of reprisal — is one of hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens who have received COVID-19 vaccines before they have been proved safe in clinical trials. Los Angeles Times, "He got a coronavirus vaccine in China but had to keep it secret. Why?," 29 Oct. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

31 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reprisal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reprisal. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for reprisal

reprisal

noun
How to pronounce reprisal (audio)

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

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Comments on reprisal

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