verb (1)
re·​lease | \ ri-ˈlēs How to pronounce release (audio) \
released; releasing

Definition of release

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude release hostages release pent-up emotions release the brakes also : to let go : dismiss released from her job
2 : to relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses was released from her promise
3 : to give up in favor of another : relinquish release a claim to property
4 : to give permission for publication, performance, exhibition, or sale of also : to make available to the public the commission released its findings release a new movie

intransitive verb

: to move from one's normal position (as in football or basketball) in order to assume another position or to perform a second assignment



Definition of release (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : relief or deliverance from sorrow, suffering, or trouble
2a : discharge from obligation or responsibility
b(1) : relinquishment of a right or claim
(2) : an act by which a legal right is discharged specifically : a conveyance of a right in lands or tenements to another having an estate in possession
3a : the act or an instance of liberating or freeing (as from restraint)
b : the act or manner of concluding a musical tone or phrase
c : the act or manner of ending a sound : the movement of one or more vocal organs in quitting the position for a speech sound
d : the action or manner of throwing a ball has a quick release
4 : an instrument effecting a legal release
5 : the state of being freed
6 : a device adapted to hold or release a mechanism as required
7a : the act of permitting performance or publication also : performance, publication became a best seller on its release
b : the matter released especially : a statement prepared for the press


verb (2)
\ (ˌ)rē-ˈlēs How to pronounce re-lease (audio) \
re-leased; re-leasing; re-leases

Definition of re-lease (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to lease again

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Other Words from release

Verb (1)

releasable \ ri-​ˈlē-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce releasable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for release

Synonyms: Verb (1)

loose, loosen, uncork, unleash, unlock, unloose, unloosen

Synonyms: Noun

delivery, discharge, quietus, quittance

Antonyms: Verb (1)

bridle, check, constrain, contain, control, curb, govern, hold, inhibit, regulate, rein (in), restrain, smother, tame

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Choose the Right Synonym for release

Verb (1)

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint. free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses. freed the animals from their cages release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation. released his anger on a punching bag liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty. liberated their country from the tyrant emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination. labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery manumit implies emancipation from slavery. the document manumitted the slaves

Examples of release in a Sentence

Verb (1)

The hostages have been released. The judge released the prisoner. The lion was released from its cage. There is a lot of controversy over whether or not wolves should be released into the park. I released my son's hand, and he ran out onto the playground. The factory faced serious fines for releasing dangerous chemicals into the river. Heat is released into the atmosphere by cars. During exercise, the body releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel better. She started to cry, releasing all of her repressed emotion. Exercise is a good way to release stress.


the release of the hostages The prisoner is eligible for early release. There was a controversy over the release of wolves into the park. The prisoner was given an early release. the release of heat into the atmosphere Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that make you feel better. an accidental release of pollutants into the river They've filed a request for release from the contract. They're requesting a release from their contractual obligations. The release of the book is scheduled for next month.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Prosecutors said Tuesday that McEwan had been released and would return for a future court date. Washington Post, "Man accused of doing 'doughnuts' on course," 11 Sep. 2019 The state’s largest electric utility began releasing out-of-state crews on Sept. 3 as Dorian finally turned away from Florida’s coast and headed north toward the Carolinas. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Hurricane Dorian missed us, but it will cost you on electric bills anyway," 11 Sep. 2019 The new report was part of a series the Census Bureau releases annually on the state of the economy., "With health care already a central issue in the 2020 presidential campaigns and a prime voter concern, the fresh evidence that insurance is slipping further out of Americans’ reach can be expected to escalate partisan warring about Americans’ access to affordable coverage.," 11 Sep. 2019 Democratic Party presidential hopefuls flexed their green credentials ahead of last week’s town hall, hosted by CNN, releasing policy documents on sustainability and climate change. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "What We Learned From The Fortune Global Sustainability Forum," 11 Sep. 2019 Sorrentino and his brother, Marc, are named in a seven-count indictment released Wednesday. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino is nearly free: What we know about his time in prison," 11 Sep. 2019 After releasing the ball with a perfect pass, Parrott knows exactly where to position himself in the box, and rarely needs more than one chance to score., "Troy Parrott: The Tottenham Starlet Is Ready to Battle Harry Kane for First-Team Minutes," 11 Sep. 2019 McDaniel College was named No. 1 in Best Value of Regional Universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report, which released 2020 rankings Monday. Catalina Righter,, "McDaniel College noted as top regional pick for value by US News & World Report," 11 Sep. 2019 The short, starring André Holland, Natalie Martinez, Melody Hurd, and Pierson Salvador, will premiere Sunday on FX (the network is airing World at 7:30 p.m. ET) and then be released immediately online according to Trevorrow. Tim Stack,, "Secret Jurassic World mini-movie Battle at Big Rock to premiere on FX," 11 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Supporters of his brand Off-White are privy to surprise releases and unordinary collaborations. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Off-White x Undercover Are Dropping A Capsule Collection This Weekend," 12 Sep. 2019 Heathrow Pause has publicly announced its plans, held several meetings with authorities, published press releases, and shared its detailed plans on social media. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "The activists hoping to cause chaos at Europe's busiest airport," 12 Sep. 2019 According to the release, the man stole items from the residence before leaving. Chico Er, The Mercury News, "Naked burglary suspect confronted by Northern California resident," 12 Sep. 2019 Members of Parliament also demanded the government release communications between the prime minister and senior advisers on both Operation Yellowhammer and the government’s decision to suspend Parliament, which took effect on Monday night. Alex Morales, Fortune, "The U.K. Government’s Worst Case Brexit Scenario Looks a Lot Like ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’," 12 Sep. 2019 The alleged chemical release appears to be the same incident that led to a civil case before the Alaska Supreme Court. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Grand jury indicts oilfield company for felonies after workers say they were injured by chemical release," 12 Sep. 2019 Per a press release, Beyond Midnight opens with a 9-foot-tall replica of an obelisk erected in Boston following the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Exploring Paul Revere’s Legacy Beyond His Famed Midnight Ride," 12 Sep. 2019 The repair is necessary for the Peters Cartridge Company building, the release states. Madeline Mitchell,, "Lebanon road closure: King Avenue/Grandin Road closed through Friday," 11 Sep. 2019 Whether shows would drop by the season, Netflix-style, or stick to the slow-drip release like conventional television. Wired, "Apple TV+ Launches November 1, Subs Will Cost $5 a Month," 10 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'release.' 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 release

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1828, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for release

Verb (1)

Middle English relesen, from Anglo-French relesser, from Latin relaxare to relax


Middle English reles, from Anglo-French, from relesser

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Statistics for release

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for release

The first known use of release was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for release



English Language Learners Definition of release

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to allow (a person or animal) to leave a jail, cage, prison, etc. : to set (someone or something) free
: to stop holding (someone or something)
: to allow (a substance) to enter the air, water, soil, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of release (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of allowing a person or animal to leave a jail, cage, prison, etc.
: the act of allowing a substance to enter the air, water, soil, etc.
: the act of freeing someone from a duty, responsibility, etc.


re·​lease | \ ri-ˈlēs How to pronounce release (audio) \
released; releasing

Kids Definition of release

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to set free or let go of The fish was caught and released. He released his hold on the rope.
2 : to allow to escape The factory released chemicals into the river.
3 : to relieve from a duty, responsibility, or burden She released him from his promise.
4 : to give up or hand over to someone else I released my claim.
5 : to permit to be published, sold, or shown The movie will be released next month.



Kids Definition of release (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of setting free or letting go release of a prisoner
2 : the act of allowing something to escape the release of smoke
3 : a discharge from an obligation or responsibility
4 : relief or rescue from sorrow, suffering, or trouble release from pain
5 : a device for holding or releasing a mechanism
6 : the act of making something available to the public
7 : something (as a new product or song) that is made available to the public


transitive verb
released; releasing

Legal Definition of release

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : to relieve or free from obligation, liability, or responsibility the debtor is released from all dischargeable debts
b : to give up (a claim, title, or right) to the benefit of another person : surrender
2 : to set free from confinement was released on personal recognizance



Legal Definition of release (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : discharge from an obligation or responsibility that bars a cause of action did not effect a release of the school for any negligence
b : the giving up or renunciation of a right or claim that bars a cause of action was a release of the remainder of the debt

Note: A release may in some situations require consideration in order to be valid. A release of one joint obligor sometimes is considered to release all the obligors.

2 : an act or instrument that effects a release signed a release issued by the insurer

called also release of all claims

— compare hold harmless
3 : the act or instance of freeing especially from custody

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More from Merriam-Webster on release

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for release

Spanish Central: Translation of release

Nglish: Translation of release for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of release for Arabic Speakers

Comments on release

What made you want to look up release? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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