Printable Version
Pronunciation: ri-preez Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A repetition, recapitulation, remake, rerun.

Notes: Today's word preserves the French pronunciation in violation of the rule that a finale E makes the preceding vowel long. The English pronunciation should be [ripraiz], just as the pronunciation of debride should be [dibraid], not [dibreed]. This noun may be used as a verb, too, as in, "Sinatra reprised several of his earlier songs."

In Play: The word is most often used in the world of creative arts, such as the repetition of a sequence in a musical performance or a repetition of the performance itself: "The ballads of the 40s and 50s had a template: two choruses, a bridge, followed by a reprise of the first melody." A reprise doesn't have to be artistic, though: "A few financial pundits are predicting a reprise of the 2007 economic collapse any day now."

Word History: Today's Good Word is an exact copy of Old French reprise "act of taking back", the feminine past participle of reprendre "take back". This verb was passed down to French from Latin reprehendere "to censure, rebuke; seize", originally "pull back, hold back," from re- "back, again" + prehendere "to grasp, seize". This verb is made up of pre- "before" + -hendere from PIE ghe(n)d- "to seize, take", which, without the Fickle N, went into the making of English get and guess. The latter was borrowed from a Scandinavian word akin to Old Swedish gissa "to guess", a remodeling of Old Germanic getison "to try to get, aim at". Latin exhibits words without the N, too, as we see in praeda "prey", which French reduced to preie before English borrowed it as prey. Predatory originated in Latin, too.

Dr. Goodword,

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