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Middle English repen, from Old English ripan, reopan, from Proto-Germanic *rīpaną (compare West Frisian repe, German reifsen ‘to snatch’, Norwegian ripa ‘to score, scratch’), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rep- ‘to snatch’ (compare Latin rapere ‘to seize, plunder’, Lithuanian aprépti 'to seize, embrace', Albanian rrjep ‘to peel, tear off’, Ancient Greek ἐρέπτομαι ‎(eréptomai, I feed on)).



reap ‎(third-person singular simple present reaps, present participle reaping, simple past and past participle reaped or (obsolete) reapt)

  1. To cut with a sickle, scythe, or reaping machine, as grain; to gather, as a harvest, by cutting.
    • Bible, Leviticus
      When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field.
  2. To gather; to obtain; to receive as a reward or harvest, or as the fruit of labor or of works, in a good or a bad sense.
    to reap a benefit from exertions
    • Milton
      Why do I humble thus myself, and, suing / For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?
    • (Bible) Epistle to the Galatians, ch. 6, v.7
      For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap. Gal.6.7
  3. (computer science) To terminate a child process that has previously exited, thereby removing it from the process table.
    Until a child process is reaped, it may be listed in the process table as a zombie or defunct process.
  4. (obsolete) To deprive of the beard; to shave.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]



reap ‎(plural reaps)

  1. A bundle of grain; a handful of grain laid down by the reaper as it is cut.


  • (bundle of grain): sheaf