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?

  • 1
    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
  • Pete and Re-Pete were in a boat. Pete fell out; who was left? – Joel Anair Nov 4 '14 at 19:25
  • "Could you say that again, please? I didn't quite get it the first time." – Hot Licks Feb 25 '16 at 22:37

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

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'.

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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".

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

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...

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or use Reiterate

Which means 'say again'

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There is an entry for "resay" in Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resay

No example sentences are provided however.

Google Books documents only a handful of written mentions.

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