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

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 Both Hossam and al-Ibby declined to say more about their years in captivity, fearing reprisals. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Yemen rebels free 290 detainees, reviving hopes for talks," 30 Sep. 2019 Most of the accusers so far remain anonymous, fearing reprisals. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: What is Plan B for the L.A. Phil and L.A. Opera?," 18 Sep. 2019 The officials have access to all police records but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters and feared reprisals from superiors. Aijaz Hussain, BostonGlobe.com, "Kashmir police say thousands detained in crackdown in region," 20 Aug. 2019 While with the New York Knicks this past season, Kanter didn't travel with the team to London for a game in January, fearing potential reprisals from Erdogan's government. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Enes Kanter claims threats from Turkish Consulate led to cancellation of basketball clinic," 24 July 2019 Employees who risked their careers to expose him now fear reprisals, according to the New Yorker article. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "CBS After Moonves," 10 Sep. 2018 The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, was one of the few remaining amid fears of a Turkish attack on the town. Elena Becatoros And Bassem Mroue, chicagotribune.com, "Syrian forces enter key border town of Kobani, blocking Turkish plans to establish a ‘safe zone’," 16 Oct. 2019 All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, and the tribal leaders demanded anonymity for fear of reprisal. Ahmed Al-haj, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Yemeni officials say explosive device has killed 4 children," 8 Oct. 2019 When your correspondent visited Jigjiga in the final months of Abdi’s rule, former detainees refused to meet in public for fear of reprisals. The Economist, "Ethiopia’s most repressive state is reforming," 3 Oct. 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reprisal

Time Traveler for reprisal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Reprisal.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reprisal?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=r&file=repris01. Accessed 16 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

having a smooth flowing sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!