- (in warfare) retaliation against an enemy, for injuries received, by the infliction of equal or greater injuries.
- an act or instance of retaliation.
- the action or practice of using force, short of war, against another nation, to secure redress of a grievance.
- the forcible seizure of property or subjects in retaliation.
Origin of reprisal
SynonymsSee more synonyms for reprisal on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for reprisal
Declining to use his real name out of fear of reprisal, Ibrahim describes a dark and gruesome odyssey.Egypt’s Black Site Torture Camps
June 19, 2014
The young Syrian-Palestinian cartoonist extends a vital tradition—but one where reprisal can mean violence death.Hani Abbas Extends the Vital Tradition of Political Cartooning in the Mideast
October 20, 2013
The attack was allegedly meant to serve as a reprisal for American participation in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.Did the U.S. Make a Mistake In Seizing Anas al-Liby?
October 14, 2013
In the military, Congress has finally recognized the rights of gays to serve openly and proudly without fear of reprisal.Major League Homophobia Isn't Going Away
May 4, 2011
Paul showed me the pathetic Porsche and then described his plan of reprisal.My Pal Paul Newman
A. E. Hotchner
March 19, 2010
The fate of the "Reprisal" was even harder than that of her consort.The Naval History of the United States
Willis J. Abbot.
Well, I don't mind; you shall plan the reprisal and then get us out of the mess.
Will you let me plan the reprisal attack as well as arrange to get you out?
"If it is reprisal you want, Sir Duke, you shall have it," he panted.Under the Rose
Frederic Stewart Isham
Friedrich is positive on the point, "Reprisal our clear remedy!"History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XX. (of XXI.)
- (often plural) retaliatory action against an enemy in wartime, such as the execution of prisoners of war, destruction of property, etc
- the act or an instance of retaliation in any form
- (formerly) the forcible seizure of the property or subjects of one nation by another
Word Origin and History for reprisal
early 15c., "seizing property or citizens of another nation in retaliation for loss inflicted on one's own," from Anglo-French reprisaille (14c.), from Old French reprisaille (Modern French représaille), from early Italian ripresaglia, from ripreso, past participle of riprendere "take back," from Latin reprendere, earlier reprehendere (see reprehend). General sense of "retaliation" is from 1710.
An act by which a nation seeks, short of war, to redress a wrong committed against it by another nation. Boycotts and blockades are common forms of reprisal.