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 underlying economics of the current housing market strongly suggest that a reprise of the Great Recession's housing bust isn't in the cards. Chris Farrell, Star Tribune, "Looking for a house? Keep this basic advice in mind," 13 Feb. 2021 The role is a reprise for Warren, who pressed the Obama administration, privately and sometimes quite publicly, on issues from complex financial instruments to forgiving federal student debt for borrowers defrauded by for-profit schools. Globe Staff,, "Massachusetts progressives press Biden to cancel student loan debt," 3 Feb. 2021 While largely a reprise of SeaWorld’s Christmas displays during the holidays, the drive-through attraction offers an experience not likely to return once theme parks are allowed to reopen. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SeaWorld offers Sesame Street light parade drive-through-style," 21 Jan. 2021 The all-too-brief reprise of Gottlieb’s rye was over. New York Times, "My Search for Lost Time in a Slice of Jewish Rye," 19 Jan. 2021 In a reprise of the dot-com boom days of 20 years ago, DashDash's shares had soared 86% on their first day of trading. Fortune, "After a blockbuster IPO, DoorDash’s challenge now is to deliver profits," 14 Dec. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb It was previously announced that Ben Affleck will reprise his role as Batman for the movie, alongside Michael Keaton doing the same from his 1989 film. Ale Russian,, "Sasha Calle Cast as DC Universe's First-Ever Latina Supergirl: Watch Her Emotional Reaction," 19 Feb. 2021 Though most of the show’s original cast returned to a reboot of the sitcom on the Peacock streaming platform, Diamond did not reprise his role. NBC News, "'Saved by the Bell' star Dustin Diamond dies at 44 after lung cancer diagnosis," 1 Feb. 2021 Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Steve Rogers’ best friends and, presumably, successors. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Best comics shows coming in 2021: Captain Comics," 16 Jan. 2021 Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon will all reprise their roles for the HBO Max original series. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Twitter Is Begging Kim Cattrall to Star in the 'Sex and the City' Reboot on HBO Max," 12 Jan. 2021 Though most of the show’s original cast returned to a reboot of the sitcom on the Peacock streaming platform, Diamond did not reprise his role. NBC News, "'Saved by the Bell' star Dustin Diamond diagnosed with stage 4 cancer," 15 Jan. 2021 According to past reports, Kim Cattrall won't return to reprise her role as Samantha Jones. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Sex and the City Revival Is Officially Coming to HBO Max," 11 Jan. 2021 All three actresses are expected to reprise their roles in the limited series revival, which will air on HBO's streaming service, HBOMax. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "A 'Sex and the City' Revival Is Coming to HBO Max," 10 Jan. 2021 It will be set during the same time period as Mandolorian and will star Temuera Morrison as Fett; Ming-Na Wen will also reprise her Mando character Fennec Shand. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "These Are the 17 Must-Watch TV Shows of 2021," 6 Jan. 2021

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

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reprise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 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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