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 re-lease (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With the help of two assistants, Williams-Jones, who also is a mother of six, manages a nail salon, entrepreneurship consulting firm, popular podcast, rental homes and, soon, a publishing company that will release her new book. Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit salon owner's key to success: Make a space that feels like home to customers," 10 Jan. 2021 The Police Department did not provide a motive for the shooting or immediately release more information. Drew Broach | Staff Writer,, "North Covington shooting wounds two; suspect jailed, police say," 9 Jan. 2021 Changning district said officials were investigating the case but could not release any detail at this stage. Washington Post, "China’s tech firms draw fire for brutal working hours after Pinduoduo employee’s death," 5 Jan. 2021 Police do not know the circumstances of the shooting and did not release any other information. Mike Cason |, al, "33-year-old charged in Montgomery’s 68th murder of 2020," 30 Dec. 2020 July 9: Supreme Court rules Trump must release financial records to New York prosecutors. USA Today, "The year that was: A global pandemic, racial protests, a president-elect. Oh, and impeachment.," 28 Dec. 2020 Lightfoot said her administration would release those emails, though the mayor’s office has not yet done so. Gregory Pratt,, "Anjanette Young meeting with Mayor Lori Lightfoot called off in dispute over public forum," 28 Dec. 2020 Other options for dogs and cats include collars and plug-in devices that release calming pheromones. Lori M Teller, The Conversation, "How to help dogs and cats manage separation anxiety when their humans return to work," 28 Dec. 2020 However, the soonest that the state’s attorney’s office will release the footage and a preliminary report is Tuesday, according to Alaine Griffin, communications director for the state Division of Criminal Justice. Rebecca Lurye,, "Body cam footage, report in fatal Hartford police shooting expected Tuesday," 28 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The agency had anticipated that the project would be finished early, the news release said, but blamed COVID-19 and six storms during the 2020 hurricane season for the delay. Sara Pagones | Staff Writer,, "U.S. 11 bridge reopening now pushed to spring two years after closure for repairs," 10 Jan. 2021 The girl was a member of youth groups at both churches, the release said. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Northeast Ohio youth pastor, wife accused of sexually abusing girl," 5 Jan. 2021 Traveling north on Austell Road, Delgado tried to turn left onto Sandtown Road but was hit by a 2014 Chevrolet Traverse, a news release said. Henri Hollis, ajc, "Weekend crash in Cobb sends 5 family members to hospital," 4 Jan. 2021 The people who died were at risk of contracting a severe case of the virus because of their age, underlying health conditions or both, the release said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "‘Diddy’ delivers, chicken coops, New Year’s Eve restrictions: News from around our 50 states," 31 Dec. 2020 Brandon McKiness, who is overseeing the new Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division, a news release said. Beacon-news Staff,, "Oswego museum displaying ornaments online," 31 Dec. 2020 The person who had called police believed the car had been on the block for several days and thought there might be a body inside, a release from the department said. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Two found dead in car in Brooklyn Park," 30 Dec. 2020 Woodfork was dead when officers arrived, the release said. Amir Vera And Eileen Mcmenamin, CNN, "Illinois state's attorney identifies 3 killed in bowling alley shooting," 28 Dec. 2020 In the vehicle, officers found Dorian Withers of North Little Rock, who had been shot, the release said. Arkansas Online, "Multiple gunshots fatal to North Little Rock teen," 27 Dec. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for release

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for release

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Release.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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

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