reprisal

[ri-prahy-zuhl]
noun
1.
(in warfare) retaliation against an enemy, for injuries received, by the infliction of equal or greater injuries.
2.
an act or instance of retaliation.
3.
the action or practice of using force, short of war, against another nation, to secure redress of a grievance.
4.
the forcible seizure of property or subjects in retaliation.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English reprisail < Old French reprisaille. See reprise, -al2

nonreprisal, noun

reprisal, reprise.


1. redress. See revenge.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
reprisal (rɪˈpraɪzəl)
 
n
1.  (often plural) retaliatory action against an enemy in wartime, such as the execution of prisoners of war, destruction of property, etc
2.  the act or an instance of retaliation in any form
3.  (formerly) the forcible seizure of the property or subjects of one nation by another
 
[C15: from Old French reprisaille, from Old Italian ripresaglia, from riprendere to recapture, from Latin reprehendere to hold fast; see reprehend]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

reprisal
1419, "seizing property or citizens of another nation in retaliation for loss inflicted on one's own," from Anglo-Fr. reprisaille (1352), from O.Fr. reprisaille, from early It. ripresaglia, from ripreso, pp. of riprendere "take back," from L. reprendere, earlier reprehendere (see
reprehend). General sense of "retaliation" is from 1710.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

reprisal definition


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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Because people feared reprisals from the spirit lion, many stopped sharing
  information with the rangers trying to track the pride.
It wasn't a rainstorm that residents battened down for, but mob reprisals.
My experience however is that people are afraid of reprisals and are afraid to
  call security for help.
The students fear reprisals against their relatives as well as themselves.
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