Is "reprise" pronounced as "repreez" in all contexts, as noun and verb, except for usages in legal context? I'd like to reference a number of dictionaries:

Oxford Living Dictionaries only has one pronunciation of /rɪˈpriːz/, with no usage notes.
Oxford Living Dictionaries

Collins Dictionary only offers one pronunciation, but it seems specific to music, which isn't that helpful.

(rɪˈpriːz ) music
the repeating of an earlier theme
to repeat (an earlier theme)

Although in the learner section it provides an exampe of a non-music context usage:

  1. verb
    If someone reprises a role or a song, they play or sing it again.

With still the same pronunciation of (rɪˈpriːz ).

The American Heritage Dictionary has a usage note that separates the legal use from the music use, but doesn't mention anything about general use:

Usage Note: In its musical sense meaning "a repetition of a phrase or verse" or "a return to an original theme," reprise is usually pronounced (rĭ-prēz′), with its last syllable rhyming with freeze. This reflects the influence of French when the musical use of the word was adopted in the 1700s. When the sense "a recurrence or resumption of an action" is used in legal context, the pronunciation (rĭ-prīz′), with the last syllable rhyming with cries, is acceptable, reflecting the older history of the word, going back to the Middle Ages.

However in the definition itself it allows for the second syllable of "reprise" to rhyme with "cries" in general noun usage to mean a repeat when not specific to law. I've marked this with an arrow

(rĭ-prēz′) n.
1. Music
a. A repetition of a phrase or verse.
b. A return to an original theme.
2. (often rĭ-prīz′) A recurrence or resumption of an action.<--------
tr.v. re·prised, re·pris·ing, re·pris·es
To repeat or resume an action; make a reprise of.
American Heritage Dictionary

The law and non-law distinction is echoed in Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary.

re•prise (rɪˈpraɪz; for 2,3 usu. rəˈpriz)
n. 1. Usu., reprises.Law. an annual deduction, duty, or payment out of an estate or manor, as an annuity.
2. a. repeat (def. 12).
b. recapitulation (def. 4).
3. to repeat: to reprise the waltz tune in the third act.

Can I assume the pronunciation is always "repreez" unless in a law context? Here are some examples from Dictionary.com, which is based on Random House Unabridged Dictionary, which lists a number of examples. Interestingly, it seems this word is very often used with the readoption of a role:

This week, he had Brian Williams reprise his role as newsman-turned-jazzman.

She has signed on to reprise her role as Jackie Kennedy in the Reelz drama, The Kennedys: After Camelot.

Jack Nicholson was also approached to reprise his role as the Joker.

Christian Bale was reportedly offered $50 million to reprise the role of Batman in Superman vs. Batman.

The vice president has to be himself, not a reprise of a miscast LBJ.
(The only use as a noun in the examples).

So far from what I've checked only the American Heritage Dictionary allows the "reprize" pronunciation for non-law/non-music general use. However at Merriam-Webster "reprise" was their word of the day, and if you scroll down you can hear the 2 minute podcast, where one of their editors mentions "also sometimes pronounced reprize". I don't know whether the editor saying this is specifically limiting this to legal uses or not.

Is there a simple rule someone can give, such as "Always repreez unless used in a legal context involving money"?

  • 1
    ri-PREEZ or ri-PRIZE? “ the ri-PRIZE pronunciation appears to be the older one, perhaps going back 500 years or more. Although it’s still acceptable, the ri-PREEZ pronunciation is more common today.” grammarphobia.com/blog/2008/05/ri-preez-or-ri-prize.html
    – user 66974
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 16:53
  • Wiktionary has the following usage note: ”The music and fencing meanings are pronounced /ɹɪˈpɹiːz/, reflecting its French origins; the everyday meaning of a recurrence of an action is often pronounced /ɹɪˈpɹaɪz/, by similarity to words like rise and prise.” en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/reprise
    – user 66974
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 16:55
  • @user070221 Thatnks for the references. It is quite strange that both the blog and wiktionary.org allow for both pronunciations, when all the official dictionaries I checked, except one, show only one pronunciation, or very commonly limit the "reprize" version to the legal use involving money. This may be a case of the official dictionaries being out of touch with how the word is spoken in real life. I don't have a subscription to OED or Macquarie, so I couldn't check those. I just checked Webster's 1913 Dictionary and Macmillan and they have only one pronunciation.
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 17:09
  • @user070221 I keep getting question mark characters at this Webster's definition, I tried different browsers I keep getting question marks in the pronunciation, have no idea what it says webster-dictionary.org/definition/reprise
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 17:14
  • 2
    This seems very subjective. Personally, I pronounce the noun "repreeze" and I pronounce the verb "reprize." I've never looked up the pronunciation in a dictionary—and I don't care what they say. ;) Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 19:52

4 Answers 4


I always followed the Noun-Verb difference in pronunciation and deemed it "safe" in that sense.

  1. Reprise used as Noun \ri-ˈprēz similar to ri-PREEZ

Ex. The Bruce Willis reprise, as a security guard with an unbreakable nature turned out to be a good movie with a bad ending.

  1. Reprise used as Verb \ ri-ˈprīz similar to ri-PRIZE

Ex. It was a surprise to see Bruce Willis reprise his role as the security guard with an unbreakable nature.

  • 1
    This would be improved by including the source of your definitions. Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 10:55
  • You have deemed your chosen difference in pronunciation safe? I don't follow. Especially since dictionaries show that different speakers pronounce even the noun differently. And apparently, some individual speakers appear to pronounce the noun differently depending on which sense they're using. Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 14:39
  • The American Heritage Dictionary definition noted in the original post backs up the assertion that the pronunciation of the verb is rĭ-prīz′, and the pronunciation of the noun is rĭ-prēz′. The long i is also found in the related word reprisal. Commented May 1, 2022 at 14:32

Re-PRIZE is certainly the original pronunciation. However, today's society has come to say it 'Re-PREEZ'. Both are still acceptable, but Re-PREEZ is more common.


  • +1, but I've edited out the personal message, as this doesn't belong in an answer. There's no problem whatsoever in writing an answer that is similar to (or even borrows from) someone's comment - our site is looking for answers, not comments :-) If you feel it's important to acknowledge the similarity in responses, I suggest adding a comment addressed to them under the post they commented on. This will also ensure it goes to their inbox. :-) Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 21:12
  • 1
    The original pronunciation, given that it happens to be a French word that was borrowed before the Great Vowel Shift turned ee into eye, is re-PREEZ, pretty close to the French pronunciation. But this is pretty much beside the point. Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 14:10

Depending on regional dialects, the pronunciation varies.

The most typical American pronunciation is Re-PREEZ.

The most typical British pronunciation, especially in the higher social classes is Re-PRIZE).


I tend to believe that It depends on context of the sentence that the word is being used. Either are acceptable. It's which one sounds best for the particular sentence. And also along with that I believe that falls in line with the many sources and people that talk about the different usage of the word as a noun or a verb. That seems to make the most sense to me.

  • You ‘cannot’ say "Either ❌are acceptable". That’s because either when used alone always takes a singular verb, even when it means both: Either (one) is acceptable. Either side of the street is allowed. However, when used with either/or to coordinate two disjunctive plural nouns, the sentence takes a plural verb: Either the Russians or the Germans are in first place.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jun 6 at 13:50

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