Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Retaliation for an injury with the intent of inflicting at least as much injury in return.
  • n. Forcible seizure of an enemy's goods or subjects in retaliation for injuries inflicted.
  • n. The practice of using political or military force without actually resorting to war.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. act of retaliation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of taking from an enemy by way of reteliation or indemnity.
  • n. Anything taken from an enemy in retaliation.
  • n. The act of retorting on an enemy by inflicting suffering or death on a prisoner taken from him, in retaliation for an act of inhumanity.
  • n. Any act of retaliation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In international law:
  • n. The act of retorting on an enemy by inflicting suffering or death on a prisoner taken from him, in retaliation of an act of inhumanity.
  • n. Any taking by way of retaliation; an act of severity done in retaliation.
  • n. Same as recaption.
  • n. A prize.
  • n. A restitution.
  • n. =Syn. 1–3. Retribution, Retaliation, etc. See revenge.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a retaliatory action against an enemy in wartime

Etymologies

Middle English reprisail, from Old French reprisaille, from Old Italian ripresaglia, from ripreso, past participle of riprendere, to take back, from Latin reprehendere, reprēndere, to take hold of; see reprehend.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French "représailles", formerly "reprisailles", originally from Italian "rappresaglia". (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But now, without any provocation, and without the justification of reprisal or retaliation, a refusal to outlaw the use of the bomb save in reprisal is making a political purpose of its possession; this is hardly pardonable.

    Atomic War or Peace

  • Among them was the Popular Resistance Committees, the group Israel almost immediately blamed for the attack, and promptly launched what it called a reprisal strike.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Jones says Jesus would approve of his plan for "Burn a Koran Day," which he calls a reprisal for Islamist terrorism.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

  • Church officials say they have 200 copies of the Koran and Jones says Jesus would approve of his plan for "Burn a Koran Day," which he calls a reprisal for Islamist terrorism.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Jones has said Jesus would approve of his plan for "Burn a Koran Day," which he called a reprisal for Islamist terrorism.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Amnesty International blamed "the negligence of state and federal authorities" for what it called reprisal attacks against activists and relatives of crime victims.

    latimes.com - News

  • Jones has said Jesus would approve of his plan for "Burn a Qur'an Day," which he called a reprisal for Islamist terrorism.

    Mail & Guardian Online

  • Amnesty International blamed "the negligence of state and federal authorities" for what it called reprisal attacks against rights activists and relatives of crime victims.

    latimes.com - News

  • And what can even the Warden of a great prison do in reprisal on a prisoner upon whom the ultimate reprisal has already been wreaked?

    Chapter 11

  • Not wanting my husband to experience any reprisal from the nursing staff, we were good disabled people and begrudgingly stayed within bounds.

    Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt » 2009 » September

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