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

On the cusp of President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, released indictments with profound implications for relations between the two countries. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "New indictments complicate the Trump-Russia relationship.," 13 July 2018 Sadly, Rae isn't equal to the task of releasing the full power in this material as either a writer or performer. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "Savanna Rae celebrates the badass women of Irish folklore in Daughters of Ire," 13 July 2018 Plumes of black smoke billowed from the fire as the cellophane released its chemical fumes — precisely why burn barrels have been outlawed in other counties. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 Turkey is not an enemy state of Israel, but has certainly become a regional adversary under its successive Islamist governments that have supported Hamas and released highly provocative, hostile statements against Israel. Yaakov Lappin, Jewish Journal, "Turkey likely to get F-35 jets, despite Islamist pull," 11 July 2018 Now, a 335-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released this morning urges researchers and regulators to return more biological data to the people whose samples yielded it in the first place. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Report advocates broader return of research results," 10 July 2018 If families are reunited in the U.S., they will be released and go through immigration proceedings outside of detention, which could take several months or years. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Reunification Proves Complicated for Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 14 July 2018 The song — the third she’s released off her upcoming new album — comes with a chill beat, on top of which the 25-year-old singer displays her signature vocal acrobatics. Dave Quinn,, "Pete Davidson Praises Ariana Grande's Topless Photo as Her Ex Mac Miller Raps About Lost Love," 13 July 2018 After the preliminary hearing, Elias also set Winslow II’s bail at $2 million, and ordered him to wear a GPS unit if he is released from custody. Teri Figueroa,, "Winslow II to face trial on two rape charges, linked by DNA to one accuser," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The standoff ended on Saturday morning when the two most important Catholic Church leaders in Nicaragua, Monseñor Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, arrived at the church and negotiated the students' release. Joshua Partlow,, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 No illnesses related to the product have been reported, according to the Saturday news release. Talia Richman,, "ALDI recalls some poke kits from five Maryland stores," 14 July 2018 Monica Morgan, 55, will also serve a year of supervised release and pay a $25,000 fine, a judge decided. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Widow of union official led 'high-flying lifestyle' on cash meant to train autoworkers: prosecutor," 14 July 2018 The Washington County Sheriff's Department responded to a 911 call from a home in the 5000 block of South PD Baker Road, near Salem, around 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to an Indiana State Police news release. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "6-year-old girl killed in accidental shooting Friday night, police say," 14 July 2018 His new album, Swimming, is slated for release Aug. 3, while Grande’s album, Sweetener, is due Aug. 17. Dave Quinn,, "Pete Davidson Praises Ariana Grande's Topless Photo as Her Ex Mac Miller Raps About Lost Love," 13 July 2018 The children's aunt in New York had already submitted paperwork with the Office of Refugee Resettlement prior to the mother’s release from detention, which was in process. Pamela Ren Larson, azcentral, "Guatemalan mother regains custody of her children after 54 days apart," 13 July 2018 Click through above to see photos from The Suffers album release show. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "The Suffers celebrate new album with first of two sold-out Houston shows," 13 July 2018 The hostages were then whisked out of the store as police performed first aid on the man, said a police press release. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "NC police shoot man holding Harris Teeter staff hostage during standoff," 13 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

14 Sep 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

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