Definition of repeat in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈpēt/


1 [reporting verb] Say again something one has already said: [with direct speech]: “Are you hurt?” he repeated [with object]: Billy repeated his question [with clause]: the landlady repeated that she was being very lenient with him
More example sentences
  • I don't think I need to repeat what I've already said about this film.
  • Even if you've read everything that Moore has ever written, and know this already, it bears repeating.
  • The name Susanna is also repeated, echoing that same vowel and sibilant.
1.1Say again (something said or written by someone else): he repeated the words after me [with clause]: she repeated what I’d said
More example sentences
  • We can take that small gift, and rather than give in to the emptiness, the ever-echo that merely repeats us back to us - we can sing through it, and listen for something else.
  • Similarly, Lee repeats Carter's greeting to his black buddies and creates many funny situations.
  • He also repeated Judge Woolsey's famous remark about Ulysses being ‘emetic rather than erotic’ though he did not refer the court to his source.
say again, restate, reiterate, go/run through again, recapitulate
informal recap
recite, quote, parrot, regurgitate
1.2 (repeat oneself) Say or do the same thing again.
Example sentences
  • This way, it took me three years to finalise the script,’ informs the film - maker, who asserts that he never repeats himself.
  • He repeats himself, something broadcasters of his calibre rarely do.
  • Mountstuart also contradicts and repeats himself, as diarists tend to do.
1.3Used for emphasis: force was not—repeat, not—to be used
2 [with object] Do (something) again, either once or a number of times: earlier experiments were to be repeated on a far larger scale
More example sentences
  • He repeats it once too often, and it begs the question, ‘From whom?’
  • Because it is becoming less and less likely every day that they will prosper by attempting to repeat the actions of the Baby Boomers who came before them.
  • Gass repeated the experiment dozens of times - and each time the blade stopped immediately.
do again, redo, replicate, rehash, duplicate
recurrent, recurring, frequent, persistent, continual, incessant, constant;
regular, periodic, numerous, many, very many
2.1Broadcast (a television or radio program) again.
Example sentences
  • Members of the audience asked whether the TV series, The Dancer's Body, would be repeated.
  • If I have any other complaints, it's this: after issuing a stellar box set the previous October, why repeat one of the episodes from that set here?
rebroadcast, rerun
2.2Undertake (a course or period of instruction) again: Mark had to repeat first and second grades
More example sentences
  • I missed 2 weeks of school and almost had to repeat second grade.
  • Young children often repeat grades because teachers or parents feel they have not acquired the appropriate academic or social skills to advance to the next grade.
  • I was in the classroom with Merce for over ten years and not once did he repeat a class.
2.3 (repeat itself) Occur again in the same way or form: I don’t intend to let history repeat itself
More example sentences
  • While we do not necessarily expect history to repeat itself, a dollar rally may still take longer to materialise than many now seem to expect.
  • Our linguistic history is repeating itself in this latest verbal revolution.
reoccur, recur, occur again, happen again
2.4 [no object] US Illegally vote more than once in an election.
2.5 [no object] North American Attain a particular success or achievement again, especially by winning a championship for the second consecutive time: the first team in nineteen years to repeat as NBA champions
More example sentences
  • Stu Ungar, who repeated as champion that year, was a coke-addled enfant terrible whose wavelength happened to be out of phase with that of the London man of letters.
2.6 [with object] (Of a watch or clock) strike (the last hour or quarter) over again when required.
3 [no object] (Of food) be tasted intermittently for some time after being swallowed as a result of belching or indigestion: it sat rather uncomfortably on my stomach and repeated on me for hours


1An action, event, or other thing that occurs or is done again: the final will be a repeat of last year
More example sentences
  • As many recall, the soybean market, along with other grains to a more limited extent, went through the roof during the past year; the coming year may perhaps be a repeat in some similar way.
  • And, clearly, the majority of Russians are averse to any repeat of the terror employed by the Soviets in 1918.
  • Because there'll be no repeat, we believe ourselves safe, and tomorrow we'll be able to pretend that nothing happened.
repetition, duplication, replication, duplicate, rehash
1.1A repeated broadcast of a television or radio program.
Example sentences
  • By the way, if you missed the show, you can catch the repeat on Radio 4 at 5pm on Sunday, 27 April.
  • Presuming for a second that no one has ever watched repeats of the television show on Nick at Nite, the premise is that the central female character is a real-life honest to goodness witch, whose family are the only ones aware of her secret.
  • We'd do a film together if somebody came up with an idea that wasn't a remake or a repeat or a sequel.
1.2 [as modifier] Occurring, done, or used more than once: a repeat prescription
More example sentences
  • However, they can also suffer from static displays which, having been viewed once, discourage repeat visits.
  • Although some traders practiced fraud, others worked hard to acquire reputations for fair business practices in order to encourage repeat sales.
  • This is a true crime for which they are repeat offenders.
1.3A consignment of goods similar to one already received.
1.4A decorative pattern that is repeated uniformly over a surface.
Example sentences
  • In subdued colours they comprise practically endless pattern repeats.
  • A repeat of the pattern after a pause would take commodity prices substantially higher.
  • His growing obsession with time and with adjusting all kinds of clocks from local Taipei to Paris time is amusing, but his actions are essentially repeats of a pattern, going in the same direction.
1.5 Music A passage intended to be repeated.
Example sentences
  • The melody in the tenor part was also often repeated, but not always to synchronize with the rhythmic repeat.
1.6A mark indicating this.
Example sentences
  • The term was commonly used in Baroque instrumental music, such as concertos, and regularly in minuet-and-trio structures, to indicate the repeat of the minuet.
  • He gives us few tempo indications, but gives us repeats that we can arbitrarily take or not.


Late Middle English: from Old French repeter, from Latin repetere, from re- 'back' + petere 'seek'.

  • compete from early 17th century:

    This word is from Latin competere in its late sense ‘strive or contend for (something)’: the elements here are com- ‘together’ and petere ‘aim at, seek’. As well as giving us competition (early 17th century) this is also the source of competent (Late Middle English); while petere gives us: impetus [M17] and impetuous (Late Middle English) ‘seek towards, assail’; petition (Middle English) an act of seeking for something; petulant (late 16th century) originally immodest in what you seek; and repeat (Late Middle English) seek again.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·peat

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