Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Telling a person to repeat something they have said sounds better to me, but is it more correct to ask them to resay what they said?

If I say something then resay it, then I have said it again. I don't peat, so why would I repeat? Do I peat? What does peat mean when referred to this way?

Which is better, repeat or resay?

share|improve this question
    
I don't believe I've ever heard or read resay. Funky to see definitions for it across the web, though reassuring to learn that it doesn't exist in many other. And my spell checkers all seem to disapprove. –  Matthew Frederick Jun 18 '11 at 9:25
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

First of all, "repeat" doesn't actually have a prefix. So, you aren't "peating" something again.
It's a word derived from French:

repeat
late 14c., from O.Fr. repeter "say or do again, get back, demand the return of" (13c.), from L. repetere "do or say again, attack again," from re- "again" + petere "go toward, seek, demand, attack" (see petition). Specific meaning "to take a course of education over again" is recorded from 1945, Amer.Eng. Related: Repeated; repeating. The noun is first recorded 1550s.

It has a prefix in Latin, but not in English.

As you can see, "repeat" can mean 'to do or say again', so "repeat" can be used to mean to 'resay'.

Interestingly, etymonline.com and dictionary.com both don't give records of 'resay'.

share|improve this answer
add comment

FWIW, in the Army, we were taught that if a radio transmission was unclear, then to say, "say again" ... NEVER repeat. Repeat has a specific meaning, it means to fire again. Thus if you're talking to an artillery unit and say "repeat" over the radio, they will fire again.

While resay does exist, it is better to say, "say again".

If skaldic muses are pushing you to write poetry, you could always use the seldseen (rare) prefixes of ed- (= re-) or agen- (= re-, again) ... agenbite = remorse.

However, for talking, use "say again".

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for bringing this up. I was looking forward to explaining, but you beat me to it. :-) –  WesT Dec 28 '11 at 3:29
add comment

If I didn't quite hear what you said (not loud enough, indistinct, etc.), I would ask you to repeat. If I heard every word you said, but I didn't understand what you meant, I would ask you to restate what you said; "resay" doesn't sound felicitous to me.

In English, of course, we generally just say "What?" in either case. In Spanish you could say "¿Qué?" ("What?") if you didn't hear, or "¿Cómo?" ("How?") if you didn't understand; in Russian it's the same: "Что?" or "Как?" I wish we had a similar convention in English conversation...

share|improve this answer
add comment

or use Reiterate

Which means 'say again'

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.