re·​prise | \ ri-ˈprēz How to pronounce reprise (audio) , sense 3 is also ri-ˈprīz \

Definition of reprise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [French, from Middle French]
a : a musical repetition:
(1) : the repetition of the exposition preceding the development
b : a repeated performance : repetition
2 : a recurrence, renewal, or resumption of an action
3 : a deduction or charge made yearly out of a manor or estate usually used in plural


re·​prise | \ ri-ˈprīz How to pronounce reprise (audio) , sense 1 is ri-ˈprēz \
reprised; reprising

Definition of reprise (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to repeat the performance of
b : to repeat the principal points or stages of : recapitulate
2 archaic : take back especially : to recover by force
3 archaic : compensate

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Did You Know?


When "reprise" was first adopted into English in the 15th century, it referred to a deduction or charge made yearly out of a manor or estate (and was usually used in the plural form "reprises"). It probably won't surprise you, then, to learn that "reprise" comes from an Anglo-French word meaning "seizure, repossession, or expense." Eventually, "reprise" came to refer to any action that was repeated or resumed. A later sense, borrowed from modern French, applies to specific types of repetition in musical compositions and was eventually generalized to describe any subsequent and identical performance. It's possible, for example, to have a reprise of a television program or a book.

Examples of reprise in a Sentence

Noun They ended their performance with a reprise of the opening number. The team is hoping to avoid a reprise of last year's defeat. Verb He will reprise his role in the play. the prosecutor's closing statement effectively reprised the case against the defendant
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The gathering was a reprise of a similar rally after last month’s election, which also led to violence overnight. Alan Cullison, WSJ, "Trump Supporters Protest Biden Election Win; Violence Erupts at Night," 13 Dec. 2020 So there’s no possibility of a reprise of 1982′s famous five-laterals among Stanford’s trombone section for a Cal victory. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Pac-12′s traditional rivalries look untraditional in 2020," 25 Nov. 2020 Nothing about Trump ever improves or even changes; the end was always going to be a parodic reprise of the beginning. David Roth, The New Republic, "The Littlest Prince," 17 Nov. 2020 House Democrats will hold leadership elections that appear to offer a reprise of the existing team at the top, led by Pelosi, 80, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 81, and majority whip James Clyburn, 80. Billy House,, "Pelosi Faces Challenges of Slim Majority and Party Divisions," 16 Nov. 2020 Such a reprise of the Bush v. Gore case in 2000, when the court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines that vote recounts in Florida had to stop after a month-long dispute, is not anticipated. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Will the Supreme Court ride to Donald Trump's rescue? Don't count on it.," 5 Nov. 2020 Betsy Dirksen Londrigan was a reprise of the 2018 battle when Davis eked out a win by just over 2,000 votes, my Tribune colleagues Patrick O’Connell, Jamie Munks and John Byrne report. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin special edition: Pritzker loses ‘fair tax’ ballot fight | Will election be a referendum on House Speaker Michael Madigan? | All eyes on battleground states in Trump vs. Biden," 4 Nov. 2020 The 2018 initiative failed by nearly 20 percentage points — a gap that paralleled the 2020 reprise. Alexei Koseff,, "Prop. 21: Voters reject ballot measure to expand rent control," 3 Nov. 2020 Across the city, businesses were shuttered with sheets of plywood, a reprise of May 31, after the killing of George Floyd. Washington Post, "Last week in the life of Philadelphia: A death, protests, the pandemic and election mayhem," 1 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon and Tony Revolori will also reprise their roles in the series. Ineye Komonibo,, "“Spider-Man 3” Just Expanded The Marvel Cinematic Universe," 9 Dec. 2020 According to Deadline, Goldberg will reprise her iconic role as Deloris Van Cartier and will also serve as a producer, alongside Tyler Perry. Glamour, "Sister Act 3: Everything We Know So Far," 11 Dec. 2020 Goldberg will reprise her role as Deloris Wilson, the lounge singer-turned-nun via witness protection. Dan Snierson,, "Whoopi Goldberg to star in Sister Act 3 for Disney+," 11 Dec. 2020 Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn reprise their roles as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in this sequel to the 2018 holiday comedy. Los Angeles Times Staff,, "Yes, Virginia, there are movies this holiday season. Here’s where to find them," 20 Nov. 2020 The three actresses are set to reprise their roles as Winifred, Sarah, and Mary alongside actors Omri Katz (Max Dennison), Thora Birch (Dani Dennison), and Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson). Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "How to Watch and Stream the 'Hocus Pocus' Virtual Halloween Reunion," 30 Oct. 2020 Clapp will likely reprise his role as the Saints' sixth offensive lineman, since veteran James Hurst will be likely starting at left tackle for Armstead. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, "Saints place WR Marquez Callaway on injured reserve, make host of other roster moves for gameday," 5 Dec. 2020 Maybe Brad Pitt would reprise his Dr. Fauci impersonation. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: How will the new post-Trump, Biden era shape TV shows and movies? We have some ideas," 27 Nov. 2020 Starting point guard Darin Minniefield also will reprise his role after posting 8.8 points and a team-leading 4.2 assists per game. Greg Luca,, "Area men’s college basketball scouting reports," 24 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reprise.' 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 reprise


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for reprise


Middle English, from Anglo-French, seizure, repossession, expense, from feminine past participle of reprendre to take back, from re- + prendre to take, from Latin prehendere


Middle English, from Middle French repris, past participle of reprendre

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

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Last Updated

20 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reprise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for reprise


How to pronounce reprise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reprise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something (such as a piece of music) that is repeated


How to pronounce reprise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reprise (Entry 2 of 2)

: to repeat (something, such as a performance of a piece of music)

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