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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from release

Verb (1)

releasable \ ri-​ˈlē-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce releasable (audio) \ 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. Noun 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The name of the individual has also not been released, but Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC division deputy director and current team lead at the JBSA-Lackland quarantine, told reporters at a Feb. 13 press conference that the person was a solo traveler. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "The CDC Has Confirmed a 15th Case of COVID-19 in the U.S. Here's What to Know," 14 Feb. 2020 The restaurant has released its prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu, including brown butter Spanish octopus, chili-lime butter poached lobster, and spiced rice pudding brûlée. al, "Here’s where to drink in Birmingham for Valentine’s Day," 13 Feb. 2020 Houston Police Department Police have released a sketch of one suspect sought in a fatal shooting last month in a Galleria-area neighborhood. Houston Chronicle, "Sketch released in Galleria-area fatal shooting," 13 Feb. 2020 To give fans a glimpse of what the car will look like, Glickenhaus has released this updated series of renderings for the 007. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Glickenhaus Gets Closer to Sending Its 007 Hypercar to Le Mans," 13 Feb. 2020 Investigators also have released police sketches and suspect descriptions as well as images, audio and video taken from the cellphone of Liberty, one of the victims. Dwight Adams, Indianapolis Star, "Delphi murders: After 3 years with no arrests, police say case isn't cold," 12 Feb. 2020 Both Saban and Dantonio have released statements reacting to Tucker's new job in East Lansing. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Mark Dantonio, Nick Saban love Michigan State football hiring Mel Tucker," 12 Feb. 2020 The Bloomberg campaign also hasn't released a detailed explanation of his tax plan, while independent tax experts have yet to evaluate it. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "Bloomberg would pay $3 billion less under his wealth tax than under Sanders plan," 12 Feb. 2020 Kelley hasn't released any post-show thoughts about her exit, but her final words during her limo ride home were pretty clear. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Peter Weber Really Wants Kelley To Be The Next Bachelorette," 11 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Since creating IHOP National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP has raised more than $30 million for its charity partners, according to a press release. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "National Pancake Day is 2/25. Here's how to get free pancakes at IHOP in metro Phoenix," 13 Feb. 2020 Randy Fenoli knows the ins and outs of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress — after all, he's been leading the program since its release in 2007. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Say Yes to the Dress America' Randy Fenoli Dishes on What Really Happened Behind the Scenes of the Show," 9 Feb. 2020 The movie will get a theatrical release before settling into its streaming home on Hulu. TheWeek, "reckons with the streaming revolution," 7 Feb. 2020 An integrated rail, internal safety, reversible magazine release, and three-dot sight system add to the appeal for those who carry daily. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "Best Cheap Guns of SHOT Show 2020," 7 Feb. 2020 The major benefit to the world community is that the WHO releases information regarding the status and severity of an outbreak, and guidance on how to control the outbreak. John A. Lednicky, The Conversation, "As China suffers from coronavirus, some wonder: Is it really that serious? 3 questions answered," 7 Feb. 2020 Police Chief Christopher Delmonte said in a press release. Johanna Seltz,, "Bridgewater police to offer training on active shooter situations," 4 Feb. 2020 The editors in London were also toasting my safe release. The Economist, "Trapped in Iran," 28 Jan. 2020 According to the press release: …[Y]e is a Lieutenant of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China and member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, "U.S. charges prominent Harvard chemist with failing to disclose China ties," 28 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about release

Time Traveler for release

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for release

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Release.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for release


How to pronounce re-lease (audio)

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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!