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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.
    • 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
    • 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
  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.