verb (1)
re·​lease | \ri-ˈlēs \
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 \
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 \ adjective

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

Most of those families were released into the community on parole — monitored by GPS ankle bracelets — pending the outcome of their immigration cases. Kristina Davis,, "Trump administration outlines plan to reunify remaining 2,500 separated children," 14 July 2018 Before this president, 90% of kids were released to a family member. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Reunification Proves Complicated for Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 14 July 2018 Raselbach’s mother was treated for superficial wounds and released. Brittny Mejia,, "Man charged with murder, attempted murder in connection with West Hollywood knife attack," 12 July 2018 The John Paul II hospital in Olbia confirmed Clooney had been treated and released after Tuesday’s accident. Washington Post, "Video shows moment of Clooney crash, actor thrown in air," 12 July 2018 The woman, identified by her attorneys as Delicia Cordon, was treated at North Fulton Regional Hospital and released. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "2 women injured in invasion at NFL player’s metro Atlanta home," 11 July 2018 The John Paul II hospital in Olbia confirmed Clooney was treated there and released after a few hours. Paolo Santalucia And Nicole Winfield,, "Watch the video of George Clooney’s scooter crash on Italian island," 11 July 2018 The 32-year-old officer was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where he was treated and released, said Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. Juan Ortega,, "Police officer wounded in shootout, and man with rifle is dead in Miami-Dade," 11 July 2018 The John Paul II hospital in Olbia confirmed Clooney was treated there and released after a few hours. Paolo Santalucia, The Seattle Times, "Video shows moment of Clooney crash, actor thrown in air," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The district first began assessing improvement needs in April of 2015, according to the news release. Nicole Aimone, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha School Board approves $60 million referendum for district-wide facility improvment," 13 July 2018 De La Rosa is the eighth person to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2018, according to the news release. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "ICE: Immigration detainee dead in apparent suicide," 12 July 2018 On Friday, Focus Features announced in a press release that the beloved PBS series is getting a revival on the big screen. Emily Wang, Glamour, "A Downton Abbey Movie Is Happening With the Original Cast," 13 July 2018 Public safety crews responded at 5:22 p.m. to a report of a swimmer in distress, police said in a press release. Adam Sennott,, "Man dies after being pulled from water in Bourne; latest in rash of drownings," 13 July 2018 The shopping center was the ideal location for the restaurant because of the area’s limited competition in the Mexican food category, the owners said in a press release. Anna Muckerman,, "New restaurant Jose Tequilas Mexican Grill and Cantina coming to Owings Mills Square," 13 July 2018 In a press release, Summerfest officials were bullish about the festival's success this year. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest in Milwaukee reports lowest attendance in at least 25 years," 13 July 2018 In a press release Wednesday, the utility said Diaz-Granados’s pay was in line with industry standards, citing an American Public Power Association formula based on utilities’ revenue. Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 July 2018 The White House didn’t note this in the press release. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s administration is full of kooks and crooks because it’s led by Donald Trump," 11 July 2018

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

9 Nov 2018

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

: 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.


re·​lease | \ri-ˈlēs \
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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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