Definition of reprieve noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rɪˈpriːv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈpriːv//
    [usually singular]
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  1. 1an official order stopping a punishment, especially for a prisoner who is condemned to death synonym a stay of execution
  2. 2a delay before something bad happens Campaigners have won a reprieve for the hospital threatened with closure.
  3. Word Originlate 15th cent. (as the past participle repryed): from Anglo-Norman French repris, past participle of reprendre, from Latin re- ‘back’ + prehendere ‘seize’. The insertion of -v- (16th cent.) remains unexplained. Sense development has undergone a reversal, from the early meaning ‘send back to prison’, via ‘postpone a legal process’, to the current sense ‘rescue from impending punishment’.Extra examples He was saved from the gallows by a last-minute reprieve. The family has won a temporary reprieve from eviction. The railway line, due for closure, has been granted a six-month reprieve. The school was granted a six-month reprieve. This house offers no reprieve from the heat.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: reprieve

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