a. A repetition of a phrase or verse.
b. A repetition of a song performed earlier, as in a musical, often in abbreviated form and sometimes with slightly different lyrics.
c. A return to an original theme.
2. (often rĭ-prīz) A recurrence or resumption of an action.
tr.v. re·prised, re·pris·ing, re·pris·es
To repeat or resume an action; make a reprise of.
[Middle English, act of taking back, from Old French , from feminine past participle of reprendre, to take back; see REPRIEVE.]
Usage Note: In its musical sense meaning “a repetition of a phrase or verse” or “a return to an original theme,” reprise is usually pronounced (rĭ-prēz), with its last syllable rhyming with freeze. This reflects the influence of French when the musical use of the word was adopted in the 1700s. In this musical context, 58 percent of the Usage Panel disapproved of the (rĭ-prīz) pronunciation in our 2017 survey (up from a 45 percent disapproval rate in 2001). In contrast, when the sense “a recurrence or resumption of an action” is used in legal context, the pronunciation (rĭ-prīz), with the last syllable rhyming with cries, is acceptable, reflecting the older history of the word, going back to the Middle Ages. In this legal context, only 28 percent disapproved of (rĭ-prīz). This pronunciation likely arose either as a spelling pronunciation or by influence of the related word reprisal, which is pronounced with (ī).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.