What is the rsvp: RSVP Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary

RSVP Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

1 of 2


intransitive verb

: to respond to an invitation


2 of 2

please reply

Example Sentences


They asked us to RSVP by this Friday.

Recent Examples on the Web

When the invitation comes, RSVP your regrets promptly to the hosts and send a card directly to the in-law couple, congratulating them and wishing them the very best for a happy celebration. Send questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson. com.

—Amy Dickinson, Star Tribune, 16 July 2021

An access code to the virtual session is given to people who RSVP for the event by calling Johnson at 972-460-6316 or Hagian at 469-642-9130.

—Carrington Tatum, Dallas News, 12 Aug. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘RSVP.’ Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



French répondez s’il vous plaît

First Known Use


1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler

The first known use of RSVP was
in 1953

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Cite this Entry



“RSVP.Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/RSVP. Accessed 20 Jul. 2023.

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What does RSVP mean and stand for?

These days we tend to associate the term RSVP with Facebook, where “yes” means “maybe,” “maybe” means “no,” and “no” means “How do I know you, again?” But there was once a time when an RSVP held significant social weight. You know, before you could invite 500 of your closest friends to an event with a single click. Whether you’ve received a summer party invitation, or you received a dinner party invitation that had those four letters printed neatly at the bottom of the card, failing to reply was at your own social peril.

What is RSVP? RSVP meaning.

RSVP is an abbreviation of the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, or in the English language, “reply, if it pleases you.”

Conversationally understood by the French as an imperative, not an option. Why do we use RSVP in English? As with so many French figures of speech, this French phrase was imported into English in the 1800s by socialites in their eternal pursuit of classiness. Its use quickly became de rigueur. Etiquette maven Emily Post was so adamant about the importance of this French expression that she gave her opinion on how to capitalize and punctuate it. “Capitals ‘R.S.V.P.’ are permissible; but fastidious people prefer ‘R.s.v.p.’” Rightly noted, Ms. Post!

How do you respond to an RSVP?

In today’s world of lax decorum, an RSVP might not earn the respect it used to, but don’t let s’il vous plaît fool you: good manners still require a reply. Any time you are invited to any event, whether it’s a formal wedding invitation or a casual birthday party invitation, that instructs you to RSVP, be sure to respond before the deadline.  

Exactly how do you RSVP to a party? The ways are limitless! Call, write, text, email, or respond on Paperless Post to let the host know if you’re attending or not. If “regrets only” is added, tell the host if you can’t make it—otherwise, you are expected to attend.

Obviously, this can get a bit confusing for both the host and guests, so it’s good to be prepared. A save the date is a great way to give guests a heads-up to keep their calendar clear for important events like weddings, anniversary parties, or milestone birthdays.

How to fill out an RSVP card as a guest

If you’re invited to a wedding or formal event with an RSVP card, fill it out and mail it back before the deadline. Or deliver it electronically with Paperless Post, as we mentioned above. Besides your name, your “yes” or “no”, and your meal choice, often there’s a place on the response card to write an optional message to the host. Sending an RSVP response is a nice gesture to let the host know you’re excited about their upcoming event or wedding. But even if you have to RSVP “no” you should still leave a note to the host on the response card. Explain why you can’t attend, offer them a healthy dose of “good luck” or “best wishes”, and let them know you look forward to seeing them soon when your schedules allow.

When should you make the deadline for RSVPs?

Especially when you’re planning a wedding, setting a deadline for RSVPs is crucial. A good rule of thumb is to set your RSVP deadline two to three weeks before your formal event. Lean closer to the three-week mark for formal events like weddings. And lean closer to the two-week mark for casual events like backyard barbecues. If you sent your invitations out six weeks before your party, this gives friends and family ample time to look at their social calendars and make a decision on how they’ll RSVP. 

What do you do when people don’t RSVP?

Even when you put RSVP on your invitation, chances are you’ll still have guests who don’t respond in time. Or guests will be quick to volunteer a “maybe. ” An easy way to handle this is to send a friendly follow-up as the RSVP deadline approaches. If you sent paper invitations, this might be in the form of a phone call or text. If you sent your invitation through Paperless Post use our follow-up tools to message any guests who’ve yet to respond. Keeping your message light and cheerful will take any awkwardness out of the encounter. Instead of reminding them they missed the deadline, convey that you’re looking forward to them attending your event. Let them know you want to make sure they are accounted for when you start planning.



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RSVP – decoding and rules for responding to the #eventetiquette invitation

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reading time: ???

What is RSVP.

When and how to respond to invitations.

How not to answer.

What not to ask and ask.

Ksenia Ferz

The abbreviation RSVP is printed on invitations to formal events and stands for répondez, s’il vous plaît, which means “reply if you please” in French.

This abbreviation is usually followed by a reply-to address or telephone number, which should be used within a week (preferably within 2-3 days, or no later than the date of receipt of the reply, if indicated) to confirm your presence or apologize for the fact that you cannot honor the inviting party with your visit.

In the 11th century, French fashion began to occupy the minds of English courtiers, and this continued for several centuries. French became fashionable in the secular circles of the United States of America, where French was considered a dialect of refinement until 19century. Needless to say, representatives of the Russian aristocracy considered the French language equal in importance to Russian in secular everyday life, if not superior to it.

Thanks to the fact that half the world takes off its hat to French cooing, many courtly phrases have been adopted by the dictionaries of European countries; one of the most famous is “etiquette”.

But ironically, the French themselves don’t always use the acronym RSVP. The call to respond to an invitation is now written like this: Prière de Repondre / Request to respond.

RSVP is a label that appears on all formal event invitations and should not be ignored.

  1. Along with the invitation in an envelope came a response card marked R.S.V.P.: fill it out and send it by the date indicated in a sealed envelope.
  2. There is no answer card in the invitation envelope: write your answer by hand on a separate sheet and send it in a sealed envelope.
  3. The response to a formal invitation to a formal event must be written in the third person on a company or family letterhead with a cap.
  4. Next to the abbreviation RSVP is a phone number: call and let us know your intention. It is preferable if you talk to someone in person: autoresponders are an unreliable method of communication.
  5. An e-mail is indicated next to the RSVP abbreviation: please send your answer by e-mail. If you received an invitation by e-mail, confirmation must be sent by return letter also by e-mail.
  6. Regrets only – a flag indicating that news is expected from you only if you plan to miss the event. If the inviting party does not receive a response from you, she is counting on your visit.
  7. If the invitation does not contain the RSVP mark, which is quite rare, but happens when a large-scale event is planned without seating guests at the table, you can leave the invitation unanswered, but for your own comfort, contact the return phone number and state your intentions.
  1. Changing “yes” to “no” is permissible only in case of emergency unforeseen circumstances: illness, injury, death in the family or inevitable professional conflict. If your intention has changed, you must notify the hosts of the event immediately in a confidential form using a personal telephone call.
  2. Not attending because you have a better option is a great way to be removed from the guest list of all future events. Extremely rude and improvident.
  3. Confirm your intention to come and not show up – out of the question!
  4. Changing “no” to “yes” is acceptable only if it does not upset the plans of the hosts of the event, formed after your refusal. Do this in a confidential conversation on the phone and delicately listen to the reaction of the invitees.
  5. If you would like to explain why you cannot attend, please send a separate letter.

Don’t even ask! The invitation contains the names of those people whom the hosts of the event wish to see, no one else.

  1. … boyfriend/girlfriend? Some invitations indicate that you may come with a companion of your choice: “Mr. M.A. with a guest, or +1″. And if you are going to come with someone, then be sure to report this in your RSVP response, stating the name and surname of the satellite.
  2. … my children? If they were welcome guests of the event, this would be indicated in the invitation.
  3. … a guest in my house? It is better to decline the invitation, explaining the reason. This will give the inviting party an opportunity to consider the situation and voluntarily include your guest on their guest list if they so wish.

Be sure to include the date and time at the bottom of your RSVP response!

RSVP how it is translated and what this abbreviation means

RSVP is an abbreviation that you can often meet in correspondence with foreign partners, in invitations to celebrations or in requests for participation in events.

How RSVP is translated

RSVP is an acronym for the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, literally meaning “Please answer” or “Please answer.”

This abbreviation can often be found on invitations (see below). And this means that you are expected to answer whether you will attend the event or not.

How did the French abbreviation RSVP come into English?

In the late 18th century the high society of England adopted French etiquette and early 19th century sources mention that “anyone who receives an invitation from the R.S.V.P. on it, I must answer .. “. Some publications describe the violation of this rule as “unforgivable rudeness.”

Emily Post recommends that those who receive an invitation with RSVP on it respond as soon as possible, within a day or two of receiving the invitation.

The use of RSVP as a verb

In English, these four letters have actually taken on the meaning of the verb “confirm”, “accept the invitation”.

Some examples below:

Don t forget to RSVP 9 0113 to the Dean s Spring reception . “Don’t forget to answer the invitation to the Dean’s Spring Reception. 9 am calling because every time someone RSVPs to your party , I get 901 03 an e mail . “Listen, I’m calling because every time someone accepts an invitation to your party, I get a message.

Did Jack RSVP to your party ? Will Jack come to your party? (In other words, “Did he confirm he’s coming to your party?”)

Note that when using RSVP as a verb, it (the abbreviation) is subject to all the rules for using verbs (the infinitive form, adding an ending -s, etc.).

Is it correct to write “Please RSVP”, because the abbreviation itself already contains the word “please”?

Of course, from a logical point of view, writing “please” to RSVP is not worth it. However, given the fact that the original meaning of this phrase in French has already been largely lost, excessive politeness does not hurt. Especially if you want to be sure to answer (something like “please, please answer!”).
Therefore, in modern English you can find cases of using the combination “Please RSVP”.

Attention! If you are writing a test, then the correct answer is the one without “please”. For example:

1. Which is correct ?

We’re planning a festive meal and special surprises for employees and their guests, so _______.

  1. RSVP (the right answer)
  2. please RSVP

Is it correct to write “RSVP by ….”?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to ask for a response or confirmation of participation by a certain date, such as “RSVP by Friday”. But the wording “RSVP in advance” (i.e., in advance) is not used, because the abbreviation itself suggests that the organizer needs to know whether you will or not some time before the event, and not after it.

What is the correct way to respond to RSVP?

It is a mistake to think that this phrase invites people to respond only if they plan to attend; it’s at least as important to notify the person making the invitation if you can’t go.