1571, in sense of “to take back to prison”, from Middle English repryen (“to remand, detain”) (1494), probably from Middle French repris, form of reprendre (“take back”); cognate to reprise. Sense generalized, but retains connotations of punishment and execution. Noun attested 1598.
- (transitive) To cancel or postpone the punishment of someone, especially an execution.
- (transitive) To bring relief to someone.
- Company […] may reprieve a man from his melancholy, yet it cannot secure him from his conscience.
- (transitive, obsolete) To take back to prison (in lieu of execution).
reprieve (plural reprieves)
- The cancellation or postponement of a punishment.
- A document authorizing such an action.
- Relief from pain etc., especially temporary.