Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
October 7th, 2015
Episode 342 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 07, 2015 is: reprise \rih-PREEZ\ noun 1 : a recurrence, renewal, or resumption of an action 2 a : a musical repetition b : a repeated performance : repetition Examples: "Jo Anne Worley returns to Palm Springs this weekend for a reprise of her music and comedy act, 'For the Love of Broadway,' at the Purple Room Restaurant & Stage." Bruce Fessier, The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), 1 Sept. 2015 "'Sing This All Together,' the album opener, is a ramshackle but charming number. But the reprise at the end of the first side turns the tune inside out, a six-minute-plus psychedelic jam session preceding Mick Jagger's solo croon of the original melody." Alex McCown, The A.V. Club (avclub.com), 24 Aug. 2015 Did you know? When reprise was first adopted into English in the 15th century, it referred to a deduction or charge made yearly out of a manor or estate (and was usually used in the plural form reprises). It probably won't surprise you, then, to learn that reprise comes from an Anglo-French word meaning "seizure, repossession, or expense." Eventually, reprise came to refer to any action that was repeated or resumed. A later sense, borrowed from modern French, applies to specific types of repetition in musical compositions. That sense was eventually generalized to describe any subsequent and identical performance. It's possible, for example, to have a reprise of a television program or a book.