re·​ly | \ ri-ˈlī How to pronounce rely (audio) \
relied; relying

Definition of rely

intransitive verb

1 : to be dependent the system on which we rely for water
2 : to have confidence based on experience someone you can rely on

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Other Words from rely

relier \ ri-​ˈlī(-​ə)r How to pronounce relier (audio) \ noun

Examples of rely in a Sentence

rigorously tested the rope before starting out, for the rock climbers would be relying on it with their very lives
Recent Examples on the Web Mall stores or retailers that rely on interconnected passage entrances may not open. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin retail stores can let customers come inside, with restrictions," 11 May 2020 For a community that relies on tourism, the economic impact is equally severe. Will Mccarthy, New York Times, "Another Covid-19 Loss? The Jumping Frog Jubilee," 11 May 2020 Cities that rely more heavily on property taxes for their operating budgets will likely manage with fewer bruises. Dominic Fracassa,, "Bay Area cities face grim financial outlook amid budget slashing. Here’s what cities are planning to cut," 10 May 2020 The declines could soon reach other state agencies that rely on lottery funding, including the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. oregonlive, "Oregon Lottery will cut jobs, pay amid coronavirus pandemic," 8 May 2020 Would this mean programs that rely on junior and senior first-round talent might lose their advantage? Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Harbaugh's radical plan will eliminate college football's double standard," 8 May 2020 Experts also believe such an increase in extreme weather could exacerbate a range of cardiovascular, respiratory and medical conditions, in addition to negatively impacting crop yields and disrupting economies that rely on agriculture. Fox News, "US will see increasing number of extreme climate events by 2050: study," 8 May 2020 However, reports show that restrictive immigration policies like this hurt economic growth, especially in jobs and industries that rely on foreign labor. Karen Ho, Quartz, "US senators want to halt immigration, just when the economy needs it most," 7 May 2020 The March trade figures underscore the deep decline ahead for gross domestic product in Canada, which is a small, open economy that relies on trade—especially with the U.S.—to bolster national income. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "Coronavirus Updates: Virgin Atlantic Cuts Jobs; DuPont Posts a Loss," 5 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rely.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rely

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rely

Middle English relien to rally, from Anglo-French relier to retie, gather, rally, from Latin religare to tie out of the way, from re- + ligare to tie — more at ligature

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Statistics for rely

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for rely


re·​ly | \ ri-ˈlī How to pronounce rely (audio) \
relied; relying

Kids Definition of rely

: to trust in or depend on I rely on my family to help me out.
relied; relying

Legal Definition of rely

: to depend with confidence : place faith

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More from Merriam-Webster on rely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rely

Spanish Central: Translation of rely

Nglish: Translation of rely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rely for Arabic Speakers

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