late 14c., repēlen, "revoke, rescind, annul; withdraw (a privilege, etc.); repudiate (one's behavior)," from Anglo-French repeler (mid-14c.), Old French rapeler "call back, call in, call after, revoke" (Modern French rappeler), from re- "back" (see re-) + apeler "to call" (later appeler; see appeal (v.)). Related: Repealed; repealing; repealable.
late 15c. (Caxton), "a recall," as from an exile (a sense now obsolete), from repeal (v.), or from Anglo-French repel, Old French rapel (Modern French rappel) "a recall appeal," back-formation from rapeler. The sense of "revocation, abrogation" is from c. 1500.