(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.

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

nonreprisal, noun

reprisal, reprise.

1. redress. See revenge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
reprisal (rɪˈpraɪzəl)
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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
The council has shown itself anxious to avoid reprisal killings.
Sometimes it is desirable for people to be free of fear of reprisal or stigma
  in order to invoke honest opinions.
The story of the reprisal missions, on the other hand, has been befogged by
To hunt a human alone, without the sanction and aid of the pack, would bring a
  savage reprisal from the leader.
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