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 Senior Ibama inspectors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal, said Bolsonaro’s rhetoric and policies have emboldened gold miners and made their own work all but impossible. Washington Post, "In the Amazon, the coronavirus fuels an illegal gold rush — and an environmental crisis," 4 Sep. 2020 Reuters reports that the human rights groups in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Australia think the 2008 Olympics in Beijing emboldened China to ramp up its human rights abuses without fear of reprisal. Paul Best, Fox News, "Human rights groups urge Olympic committee to pull 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing," 12 Sep. 2020 And in rare cases, prominent executives are beginning to speak out after staying silent out of fear of reprisal. Takashi Mochizuki, Fortune, "Apple’s App Store draws scrutiny in yet another country," 3 Sep. 2020 Thompson warned Edmond to stop associating with Hoyas players and to leave them alone, using his respect in the Black community to become one of the few people to stare down Edmond and not face a reprisal. Joseph White, Houston Chronicle, "Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78," 31 Aug. 2020 Thompson warned Edmond to stop associating with Hoyas players and to leave them alone, using his respect in the Black community to become one of the few people to stare down Edmond and not face a reprisal. Arkansas Online, "Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78," 31 Aug. 2020 Yevgeny Vindman confirmed that Vindman, the twin brother of Alexander Vindman, a key impeachment witness, has filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Esper takes Pentagon’s China warning to Beijing's backyard," 27 Aug. 2020 Flat taxes force would-be tax hikers to face potential reprisal from all voters at once, rather than being empowered to segment opposition by income. WSJ, "Californians Dream That Only the Rich Will Pay," 26 Aug. 2020 Local officials often withhold information from Beijing for fear of reprisal, current and former American officials say. Edward Wongand Julian E. Barnes, BostonGlobe.com, "Local officials in China hid coronavirus dangers from Beijing, US agencies find," 19 Aug. 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

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reprisal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reprisal. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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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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