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From Anglo-Norman repeler, from Old French rapeler (to call back, call in, call after, revoke), from Latin repellō (drive or thrust back), from re- and pellō (push or strike). Doublet of repel.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹəˈpiːl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːl


repeal (third-person singular simple present repeals, present participle repealing, simple past and past participle repealed)

  1. (transitive) To cancel, invalidate, annul.
    to repeal a law
    • c. 1591–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
      [] I here divorce myself
      Both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed,
      Until that act of parliament be repeal’d
      Whereby my son is disinherited.
    • 1776, Samuel Johnson, letter to James Boswell, cited in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, London: Charles Dilly, 1791, p. 8,[1]
      As manners make laws, manners likewise repeal them.
    • 1791, Thomas Paine, Rights of Man: Being an Answer to Mr. Burke’s Attack on the French Revolution, London: [] J. S. Jordan, [], →OCLC, page 15:
      It requires but a very small glance of thought to perceive, that altho’ laws made in one generation often continue in force through succeeding generations, yet that they continue to derive their force from the consent of the living. A law not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be repealed, but because it is not repealed; and the non-repealing passes for consent.
    • 2024 February 7, Mel Holley, “Network News: War of words between Prime Minister and union”, in RAIL, number 1002, page 14:
      Labour says it will repeal the legislation if it wins the next General Election.
  2. To recall; to summon (a person) again; to bring (a person) back from exile or banishment.
  3. To suppress; to repel.




repeal (countable and uncountable, plural repeals)

  1. An act or instance of repealing.
    • Wednesday June 02, 2021, Has the Northern Ireland Protocol undermined the United Kingdom?
      When a newer Act of Parliament is incompatible with earlier law, it usually takes precedence, under the doctrine of “implied repeal”.