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

Like Chippi, Jarril claimed there are town residents solidly behind the effort, but that many are reluctant to be publicly identified for fear of possible nonspecific reprisals or retaliation. Charlie Brennan, The Denver Post, "Mayor, two trustees targeted in Nederland recall petitions," 16 Aug. 2019 Perhaps fearful of reprisal, no one has come forward with solid tips. Charles Rabin And Joey Flechas, miamiherald, "Liberty Square sees more police but many say they're not solution to gun violence | Miami Herald," 27 Apr. 2018 The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media, while the residents spoke anonymously, fearing reprisal. Washington Post, "Yemen officials: Government forces take separatist camps," 24 Aug. 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. NBC News, "At least 2,300 detained in locked-down Indian-ruled Kashmir," 21 Aug. 2019 China has increased its scrutiny of American firms, and many American companies and their employees in China now fear reprisal. New York Times, "A New Red Scare Is Reshaping Washington," 20 July 2019 Citizens have organized themselves through civil society, business and school groups and worked to minimize the identity of leaders to avoid reprisals from the government. Youyou Zhou, Quartz, "Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong has been released from prison," 16 June 2019 No one in Hajin would speak openly about what happened to the men, fearing reprisals from both sides in the decades-old fight. Yasin Dar And Aijaz Hussain, Fox News, "In Kashmir, 2 killings come amid tangles of fear and loyalty," 6 Apr. 2018 As a final act of reprisal, Franken demeaned her with the photograph of her sleeping. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "The Case of Al Franken," 22 July 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.

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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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Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for reprisal

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

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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

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