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

Cruz-Velazquez was released on a $1,500 bond with a notice to appear in court Aug. 8 in Mundelein, police said. Staff Report,, "Lincolnshire police: Man charged with unlawful weapon, drug possession charges," 13 July 2018 At another department in Michigan, Fritz was released for violating various policies, Bedford said. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "In police sexual misconduct case, Michigan woman sues officer she accused of assault," 13 July 2018 Huddersfield Town have already been one of the more active Premier League clubs during this summer’s transfer window, as five new faces have arrived through the door at the John Smith’s Stadium with others being released by the club., "David Wagner Tells Huddersfield Fans to Expect More Summer Signings as Reinforcements Arrive," 13 July 2018 Both were released after passing forensic testing and denying any involvement in the shooting, the lawsuit said. CBS News, "Man wrongly identified as suspect in 2016 attack sues Dallas police," 12 July 2018 Tohafjian was released on bail after both arrests, the district attorney said. Fox News, "Police: Man recently charged with rape killed 2, wounded 1," 12 July 2018 The fathers were released from the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall, where one of them had been held since Feb. 1, Fernández said. Lomi Kriel, San Antonio Express-News, "Half of migrants under 5 reunited with parents, though rest remain ‘ineligible’," 12 July 2018 Data released by the California Air Resource Board on Wednesday show that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2.7 percent in 2016 — the latest year available — to 429.4 million metric tonnes. David R. Baker,, "California hits 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal early," 12 July 2018 The John Paul II hospital in Olbia said Clooney was released Tuesday., "George Clooney released after motorcycle crash in Italy," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In a news release, the company said Olivia Kirtley will serve as lead independent director. Wsj Staff, WSJ, "John Schnatter, Papa John’s Chairman, Resigns After Using Racial Slur," 12 July 2018 Tests proved him right. Spraying experimental rice plants with artificial acid rain immediately cut their release into the soil of three relevant bacterial foodstuffs—fumaric acid, galactose and glucose. The Economist, "A cheap way to save rice plants from the effects of acid rain," 12 July 2018 Jerome Thompson, the 52-year-old inmate, jumped from the general housing pod Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m. the sheriff’s office said in a release. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "A Mecklenburg County inmate died. It’s the jail’s fourth death in two months.," 12 July 2018 The Coast Guard, in a release, said all on board were reported to have received minor injuries but otherwise were in good condition. Time, "All 11 People on Board Survived Alaska Plane Crash, Coast Guard Says," 11 July 2018 The Coast Guard, in a release, said all on board were reported to have received minor injuries but otherwise were in good condition. Becky Bohrer, The Seattle Times, "Coast Guard: All 11 rescued from crashed plane in Alaska," 10 July 2018 Ken Worzel, president of and chief digital officer, said in a release. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Nordstrom's 2 New Los Angeles Shops Have Everything Shoppers Want, Except Products," 9 July 2018 Charleston Police chief Luther Reynolds said in a news release Tuesday, according to ABC News 4. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "A Teen Was Arrested for Selling Palmetto Roses in Charleston, SC," 6 July 2018 Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 37 million firearm safety kits throughout the country since 2003, according to the release. Victoria Cheyne, Houston Chronicle, "Free firearm safety kits to be distributed," 12 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

12 Oct 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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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