- to delay the impending punishment or sentence of (a condemned person).
- to relieve temporarily from any evil.
- a respite from impending punishment, as from execution of a sentence of death.
- a warrant authorizing this.
- any respite or temporary relief.
Origin of reprieve
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for reprieve
When POTUS asked Malia if she wanted to pet the turkey before he granted its reprieve, she responded appropriately: “Nah.”GOP Flack Throws Shade at First Teens
November 29, 2014
The procedure was captured on-camera and released by the human rights organization, Reprieve.From Public Enemy to Power Broker: Hip-Hop’s the New Global Pop Culture
Lauren DeLisa Coleman
September 27, 2014
But six months into his probation, Bartiromo asked the judge presiding over his case for a reprieve.He Bullies Kids and Calls It News
June 26, 2014
There were moments of reprieve, then the boiling water again.No Sex For Six Weeks After Giving Birth? It’s Too Long!
December 27, 2013
After a reprieve over the spring and summer, debt-ceiling brinksmanship is about to resume.Congress and China Pose Biggest Threats to U.S. Economic Expansion
September 5, 2013
He had got a reprieve, or a respite, and he felt like a boy--another kind of boy from what he had ever been.Questionable Shapes
William Dean Howells
It might have been the gasp of the condemned man at the sound of the word “reprieve.”The Twins of Suffering Creek
But even if she did go it was a reprieve; it gave him one last opportunity.Once to Every Man
The crying need of an imperiled republic could not reprieve him.
"Well, it is at least a reprieve," said she, with a dreary sigh; and they retired.Luttrell Of Arran
Charles James Lever
- to postpone or remit the punishment of (a person, esp one condemned to death)
- to give temporary relief to (a person or thing), esp from otherwise irrevocable harmthe government has reprieved the company with a huge loan
- a postponement or remission of punishment, esp of a person condemned to death
- a warrant granting a postponement
- a temporary relief from pain or harm; respite
- the act of reprieving or the state of being reprieved
Word Origin and History for reprieve
1570s, reprive, "take back to prison," alteration (perhaps by influence of reprove) of Middle English repryen "to remand, detain" (late 15c.), probably from Middle French repris, past participle of reprendre "take back" (see reprise). Meaning "to suspend an impending execution" is recorded from 1590s; this sense evolved because being sent back to prison was the alternative to being executed. Spelling with -ie- is from 1640s, perhaps by analogy of achieve, etc. Related: Reprieved; reprieving.
1590s, from reprieve (v.).