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rep = repeat(s)(ing)

It is the abbreviation for 'repeat', meaning 'do it again'. 

A typical usage of this would be 'Rep Rows 1 - 8 until item measures 8 inches'. 

Another usage is to put a special character like a '*' into the pattern and then state 'rep from * x times' meaning that you should find the '*' mark and repeat all stitches from that point for the number of times indicated.