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. Compare to Latin privare.
- (transitive) To cancel or postpone the punishment of someone, especially an execution.
- (transitive) To bring relief to someone.
- 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), 6th edition, London: […] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, […], published 1727, OCLC 21766567:
- 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).
- To abandon or postpone plans to close, withdraw or abolish (something).
- 1960 August, L. Hyland, “The Irish Scene”, in Trains Illustrated, page 468:
- At the time of writing the halts have been reprieved due to doubts as to the legality of the withdrawal of services. It is feared that this reprieve may not outlast the summer timetable which, on the section in question, provides only a skeleton of the former service.
reprieve (plural reprieves)
(Can we add an example for this sense?)
- The cancellation or postponement of a punishment.
- A document authorizing such an action.
- Relief from pain etc., especially temporary.
- 2015 February 24, Daniel Taylor, “Luis Suárez strikes twice as Barcelona teach Manchester City a lesson”, in The Guardian (London):
- Yet it was not easy, on the balance of play, to be convinced by Pellegrini and his defeated players that the reprieve might somehow be a defining moment over the two legs.
- A cancellation or postponement of a proposed event undesired by many.