- Reprisal is an act of using force or causing injury for vengeance.
An example of reprisal is when one country bombs another to retaliate for that country's earlier military hostilities.
reprisal definition by Webster's New World
- Historical the forcible seizure of property or subjects in retaliation for an injury inflicted by another country
- the act or practice of using force, short of war, against another nation to obtain redress of grievances
- injury done, or the doing of injury, in return for injury received; retaliation or an act of retaliation, specif. in war, as the killing of prisoners
Origin: Middle English reprisail ; from Middle French reprisaille ; from Italian rappresaglia ; from riprendere, to take back ; from Classical Latin reprehendere: see reprehend
reprisal definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- Retaliation for an injury with the intent of inflicting at least as much injury in return.
- Forcible seizure of an enemy's goods or subjects in retaliation for injuries inflicted.
- The practice of using political or military force without actually resorting to war.
Origin: 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.
reprisal - Cultural 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.