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 The security guard, Gulman, who identified himself by only one name for fear of reprisal, said crowds of Afghans had poured onto the tarmac, clambering to board any departing flights. New York Times, 2 Sep. 2021 Higgins became the subject of an internal investigation, according to Martinez’s public defender and a colleague of Oduye’s, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2021 Most spoke anonymously because of nondisclosure agreements and fear of reprisal. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2021 Many employees are reluctant to report a security threat for fear of reprisal, and one Administrative Science Quarterly study shows that blaming employees isn’t the solution. Perry Carpenter, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 The Kabul airport has been the focus of intense international efforts to get out foreigners, Afghan allies and other Afghans most at risk of reprisal from the Taliban insurgents. Robert Burns, chicagotribune.com, 20 Aug. 2021 The Kabul airport has been the focus of intense international efforts to get out foreigners, Afghan allies and other Afghans most at risk of reprisal from the Taliban insurgents. BostonGlobe.com, 20 Aug. 2021 The Kabul airport has been the focus of intense international efforts to get out foreigners, Afghan allies and other Afghans most at risk of reprisal from the Taliban insurgents. Ellen Knickmeyer, Robert Burns And Matthew Lee, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Aug. 2021 In Afghanistan, the Taliban promised not to exact reprisal from people who have opposed the group’s takeover. Daric L. Cottingham, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2021

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near reprisal

reprinter

reprisal

reprise

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Statistics for reprisal

Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reprisal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reprisal. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on reprisal

Nglish: Translation of reprisal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reprisal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reprisal

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