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 spending splurge brings hope that 2021 won’t be a reprise of 2020. Globe Staff,, "Patriots didn’t win enough in 2020, so in free agency, they’re buying a new team," 15 Mar. 2021 It’s the company’s only new electric model sold in the United States, though there are plans for more, including a nostalgic reprise of the company’s Microbus. Tom Krisher, ajc, "AP source: VW plans brand-name change to ‘Voltswagen’ in U.S.," 29 Mar. 2021 Public education supporters fear the bill may open the door to larger changes, including a reprise of tax credit scholarships for private schools and a new funding mechanism to create a path for charter schools to open. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "After last-minute allowance for some private schools, House passes school choice bill," 11 Mar. 2021 The potential for a supply pinch as the first quarter draws to a close late next month could represent a smaller-scale reprise of problems that bedeviled the Trump administration at the end of last year. Washington Post, "Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna pledge massive boost to U.S. supply after sluggish rollout," 23 Feb. 2021 In a move that is sure to rock the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sources tell Deadline that Chris Evans is cleaning the dust off his Captain America attire as he is expected reprise the role in the MCU in some form. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Marvel boss says Chris Evans isn’t coming back as Captain America," 14 Jan. 2021 Well, congratulations, a reprise may be coming your way if Joe Biden heeds his Covid-19 advisory team. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Joe Biden’s Lockdown Lobby," 12 Nov. 2020 Education opportunity accounts are a reprise of tax credit scholarship legislation that floundered repeatedly in previous sessions. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky GOP quietly adds controversial education opportunity accounts to a different bill," 6 Mar. 2021 Each gets a featured turn before the dance ends with a reprise of the group theme. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Ballet's 'To the Pointe' makes classics friendly for new audiences," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kristen Bell is also set to reprise her iconic role as the narrator of the series and voice of Gossip Girl. Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "The ‘Gossip Girl’ reboot finally has a premiere date—here's how to watch it when it airs," 1 May 2021 Lamadrid will also reprise her role as Sara in flashbacks. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, "Revenge Gets Complicated in Trailer for Season Two of ‘Who Killed Sara?’," 27 Apr. 2021 Vera Farmiga is playing Steinfeld's mom, Eleanor Bishop, and Florence Pugh is set to reprise her role as Yelena Belova, the sister to Scarlett Johansson's late Black Widow and a fellow assassin. Jolie Lash,, "Jeremy Renner shares banged-up Hawkeye selfie to celebrate wrapping Disney+ series," 21 Apr. 2021 Fun fact: Set to reprise her role as The White Widow in the Mission Impossible franchise. Mike Rose, cleveland, "Today’s famous birthdays list for April 18, 2021 includes celebrities David Tennant, America Ferrera," 18 Apr. 2021 Reeves will star as the titular warrior in the live-action BRZRKR film and reprise his role for a voice part in the anime series. Christian Holub,, "He wasn't lying: Keanu Reeves is bringing his BRZRKR character to the screen," 22 Mar. 2021 It has been announced that the actor will reprise the role on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," 19 Mar. 2021 At the barbershop, where Murphy and Hall also reprise their characters, the conversation bounces from Teslas to transgender people. NBC News, "33 years later, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall return to Zamunda," 3 Mar. 2021 President-elect Joe Biden has chosen his longtime adviser Ron Klain to reprise his role as his chief of staff, installing an aide with decades of experience in the top role in his White House. Alexandra Jaffe, Star Tribune, "Biden chooses longtime adviser Ron Klain as chief of staff," 11 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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reprise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for reprise



English Language Learners Definition of reprise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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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