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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The league will release the first half of the schedule around Dec. 1; the second half of the schedule is likely to come in January or February, and there is a possibility that the team — for now, anyway — could return to Toronto at that point. Rob Gillies And Tim Reynolds,, "Toronto Raptors will play in Tampa after NBA team denied permission to play in Canada because of COVID-19 travel restrictions," 20 Nov. 2020 That’s because complex carbs slowly release glucose to provide steady energy throughout your workout, and lean proteins provide sustaining energy as well, explains Raffals. Jenny Mccoy, Glamour, "How Long Should You Wait to Workout After Eating?," 19 Nov. 2020 Dennis Muilenburg sought to assure pilots and passengers that the company is addressing safety concerns about its 737 Max 8 jet, writing in an open letter that the company will soon release a software update and offered pilot training. Chicago Tribune Wire Reports,, "Timeline: Boeing 737 Max jetliner crashes and aftermath," 18 Nov. 2020 Bourla added that Pfizer would soon release more detailed efficacy results. Robert Langreth,, "Pfizer Reaches Safety Milestone for Covid Vaccine, CEO Says," 17 Nov. 2020 Northeast states could release more joint restrictions in the coming days, especially as college students are coming home for Thanksgiving break and in most cases not returning to campus until early 2021, Murphy said. Joseph Spector, USA TODAY, "New York is among states limiting private gatherings to 10 people, but how will it be enforced?," 17 Nov. 2020 The Ohio Court of Claims last week ordered the Ohio Department of Health to release daily data about hospitals' stashes of PPE, staffing levels and adult and pediatric beds. cleveland, "Which Ohioans could be considered for Biden’s cabinet? Capitol Letter," 16 Nov. 2020 Mayes hopes to release debut EPs from Ray and Lewis and push for more virtual performances, especially at an event like South by Southwest. Josh Glicksman, Billboard, "This Memphis Label Avoided Pandemic Layoffs — Here's How," 13 Nov. 2020 Nessel's office will release a statement about the cease-and-desist later this week, Jarvi said. Ashley Nerbovig, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan AG to right-wing website: Take down misleading videos," 11 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An autopsy found the preliminary cause of death to be blunt force trauma, the release states. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, "Butler County Coroner: Person killed in Monroe truck crash identified," 21 Nov. 2020 The Phoenix VA Health Care System will stop in-person visits to its inpatient units on Saturday, with some exceptions for end-of-life cases, a news release from the health system says. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, "Citing the COVID-19 spike, Arizona's largest health system reinstates visitor restrictions," 21 Nov. 2020 The disclosure came almost as an afterthought, near the end of a 40-minute release of evidence after a grand jury decided there was insufficient evidence to indict the IMPD officer who shot and killed Dreasjon Reed. Vic Ryckaert, The Indianapolis Star, "ISP says Dreasjon Reed was involved in previous drive-bys, but provides few details," 21 Nov. 2020 The Amistad Project's press release said Rock the Vote secured a contract that affected voting rolls. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, "National conservative group plans to file more lawsuits regarding Michigan election," 21 Nov. 2020 Alex Giaimo of Jefferies notes that release has come within five days of the game’s launch over the last three years. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Call of Duty Goes Silent," 20 Nov. 2020 And, even if liberals and conservatives reach some consensus on the need to reduce incarceration numbers, pressure from those who continue to emphasize law and order in electoral politics will seek a release valve. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "Kamala Harris and the Noble Path of the Prosecutor," 20 Nov. 2020 The buzz surrounding her album's release appears to be good news for Megan herself, with Twitter users praising the project. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Twitter users praise Megan Thee Stallion's new album 'Good News,' lead track 'Shots Fired'," 20 Nov. 2020 The project is expected to create 225 jobs with a total payroll of roughly $15 million, generating $340,000 a year in payroll taxes for the city of Cleveland Heights, the news release says. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "MetroHealth expansion will add 110 treatment beds for behavioral health, addiction services in Cleveland Heights," 20 Nov. 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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Release.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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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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