Reparations Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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If you accidentally hurt someone’s feelings, you should try to make reparations (ˌrepəˈrāSH(ə)n/ /ˌrɛpəˈreɪʃ(ə)n). Not sure what the word reparations means? Don’t worry; we’re here to help!

In this post, we’re exploring the word reparations to uncover its definition, origin, usage, and more. So if you’ve ever been curious about this interesting term — keep reading.

What Is the Definition of Reparations?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the noun reparation can be defined as payment for harm or damage. 

With this in mind, the plural form “reparations” (pronounced rep-uh-rey-shuhnz) refers to compensation payable by a defeated group or country to a person for loss suffered during or as a result of war. 

In simpler terms, reparations refer to the act or process of making amends for a wrong.  

What Is the Word Origin of the Word Reparations?

The history behind our word of the day isn’t crystal-clear, but the first record of this interesting term comes from sometime around the second half of the 1300s.

We should note that the word “reparation” has origins in Latin but is believed to have come to the English language through Old French.  

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Reparations?

An excellent way to fully understand the meaning behind a new word is to open a thesaurus and review synonyms and antonyms. 

In case you need a quick refresher — synonyms are terms that have the same (or nearly the same) meaning as another term. Antonyms, on the other hand, are terms that have the opposite meaning of another term. 


  • Amends
  • Restitution
  • Redress
  • Compensation
  • Solatium
  • Repayment
  • Atonement
  • Indemnification
  • Apology
  • Payment
  • Renewal
  • Costs
  • Damages
  • Atone


  • Unstaple
  • Unpin
  • Decline
  • Natural object
  • Worsen
  • Sedate
  • Break
  • Penalty
  • Thefts
  • Sympathy
  • Extortion

How Can You Use Reparations in a Sentence?

Our word of the day can be defined simply as repairing, but do you know how to use it properly in a sentence? Reparations can be tricky to make a part of your everyday vocabulary, so we went ahead and compiled a short list of example sentences for you to review below:

“After deductions for war reparations, the remaining balance would be used to purchase food and humanitarian aid.”

“Did you know that After World War I, leaders from France, Britain, and the United States of America negotiated the Treaty of Versailles, which required Germany to pay war reparations?”

“The nation agreed to pay reparations to victims.”

“Today’s class was really focused as we were discussing the reparations to Black people; as a result of the enslavement of their ancestors.”

“The county paid reparations to Miss Walters after falsely imprisoning her for ten years.”

“Many African Americans believe that the United States of America should have given recently enslaved people reparations following the civil war.”

“Just so we’re clear; paying an individual black person’s bills is not an example of reparations.”

“The victors of the battle received war reparations.”

“Germany paid a whopping $50 billion in reparations for the horrible Nazi crimes that they committed.”

“Anthony had to pay reparations after damaging Mr. Smith’s new car.”

“If you’re bad mood causes you to be mean to someone, be the bigger person and make reparations for your wrongdoings.”

“Do you think Congress or the U.S. government will ever agree to pay reparations to the black community?“

“The country had to pay millions in reparations.”

“There was some chatter earlier in the year regarding reparations for descendants of slaves.”

“Did you know that the idea of giving black people reparations for slavery dates back to many years ago?”

What Are Translations of Reparations?

By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of the word reparations — so before we bring this article to a close, let’s take a quick peek at some common translations: 

  • American English: reparations  
  • Brazilian Portuguese: compensações 
  • Chinese: 赔款
  • European Spanish: indemnización 
  • French: dédommagement 
  • German: Reparationen 
  • Italian: riparazioni 
  • Japanese: 賠償金
  • Korean: 보상
  • European Portuguese: compensações 
  • Spanish: reparación 

What’s the Difference Between Reparations and Restitution?

Some folks think the words reparation and restitution can be used interchangeably, but the truth is that these are two different terms with separate definitions and, therefore, should not be used in lieu of the other.

As mentioned previously, the word reparations refer to restoring something to good condition after causing it harm or damage. The term restitution, on the other hand, can be defined as restoring to the rightful owner what has been taken away or lost.  


Simply put, reparations are the process or act of making amends for a wrong. They were initially meant to replace war indemnities, which have been levied after earlier battles as a punitive measure and to compensate for economic losses. 

Today, however, the meaning behind our word of the day is a bit more inclusive and refers to payment for any kind of harm or damage. In other words, reparations can be paid not only as a result of war but as a way of saying sorry, too. 

We hope you enjoyed learning about the word reparations. If you’d like to discover more interesting terms and their definitions, we invite you to explore our website where you’ll find informative blogs, useful tips, and more. 

Whatever your grammar needs might be, you can always count on us to have your back! 


The Meaning of Reparation | Kimani Nehusi 

REPARATION : definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

Why we need reparations for Black Americans | Brookings