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From Middle English repen, from Old English reopan, repan, variants of Old English rīpan (to reap), 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)).


  • enPR: rēp, IPA(key): /ɹiːp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːp


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

  1. (transitive) To cut (for example a grain) with a sickle, scythe, or reaping machine
  2. (transitive) To gather (e.g. a harvest) by cutting.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Leviticus
      When ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field.
  3. (transitive) To obtain or receive as a reward, in a good or a bad sense.
    • 2016 June 11, Phil McNulty, “England 1-1 Russia”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      England manager Roy Hodgson got plenty right with a positive selection and the decision to play Rooney in midfield reaped a rich reward - but his boldest move may also have been his biggest mistake.
    to reap a benefit from exertions
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Why do I humble thus myself, and, suing / For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Epistle to the Galatians, ch. 6, v.7
      For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap. Gal.6.7
  4. (transitive, 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.
  5. (transitive, 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.