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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Reprisal


REPRI'SAL, noun s as z. [Latin prendo.]

1. The seizure or taking of any thing from an enemy by way of retaliation or indemnification for something taken or detained by him.

2. That which is taken from an enemy to indemnify an owner for something of his which the enemy has seized. Reprisals may consist of persons or of goods. Letters of marque and reprisal may be obtained in order to seize the bodies or goods of the subjects of an offending state, until satisfaction shall be made.

3. Recaption; a retaking of a man's own goods or any of his family, wife, child or servant, wrongfully taken from him or detained by another. In this case, the owner may retake the goods or persons wherever he finds them.

Letters of marque and reprisal a commission granted by the supreme authority of a state to a subject, empowering him to pass the frontiers [marque, ] that is, enter an enemy's territories and capture the goods and persons of the enemy, in return for goods or persons taken by him.

4. The act of retorting on an enemy by inflicting suffering or death on a prisoner taken from him, in retaliation of an act of inhumanity.