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 Apple might finally release AirTags, a coin-size smart-tracker that relies on Apple's iCloud network to help users locate missing items. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "How to watch Apple's iPhone event live," 13 Oct. 2020 On Friday, IFC Film will release it in theaters and on-demand. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "Review: In 'S---house,' a college coming-of-age comedy," 13 Oct. 2020 Police here almost never release video or detailed arrest reports or even press releases about K-9 bites. Ashley Remkus |, al, "An ugly secret in Alabama: Police dog attacks," 13 Oct. 2020 The campaign plans to release a more detailed outline later this week, Urby said. Joshua Fechter,, "Campaigns for three S.A. sales tax props top $1M in fundraising," 6 Oct. 2020 Lilith plans to release her debut book on her experience in 2021. NBC News, "I tested positive for a hereditary breast cancer gene while pregnant – Here's why I call it my 'beautiful defect'," 1 Oct. 2020 Beshear said the state plans to release on Thursday its guidelines for Halloween trick-or-treating. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky reports 1,000+ new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row," 30 Sep. 2020 While the City Attorney’s office is leading the investigation, the controller’s office plans to release a series of reports that look into the policies and practices that have allowed corruption to exist. Trisha Thadani,, "City Hall scandal: Nuru used ‘unethical’ practice to solicit funds for S.F. department, controller says," 25 Sep. 2020 The Marion County Coroner's Office plans to release the victim's name after notifying next of kin, IMPD said. Tony Cook, The Indianapolis Star, "Police investigating homicide on northeast side after locating victim in a field," 20 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Adrian Shahbaz told reporters ahead of the report's release. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Internet Freedom Has Taken a Hit During the Covid-19 Pandemic," 14 Oct. 2020 The Washington Examiner reached out to the State Department and to officials at the White House National Security Council about the hostage release. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Two US hostages held captive by Iran-backed group in Yemen freed in trade," 14 Oct. 2020 Yes, Both Gach transferred and Caleb Lohner asked for and received a release from a National Letter of Intent, but there was no mass exodus to the NCAA Transfer Portal. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Runnin Utes set to open practice Wednesday as optimism for 2020-21 persists," 13 Oct. 2020 Originally scheduled for a June 2021 release date, the blockbuster was first pushed to October 2021, and is now slated to hit theaters on March 4, 2022. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "'The Batman' production back in full swing," 13 Oct. 2020 In a news release Oct. 12, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin encouraged people with smartphones to download the GeauxVote mobile app and use it to locate polling place information and to keep up with election results. Sarah Ravits,, "Today’s the last day for Louisiana to register to vote online; help postpone the apocalypse," 13 Oct. 2020 Although there's no release date for that yet, Netflix has begun announcing casting changes: Imelda Staunton will take over as Queen Elizabeth, and Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Everything We Know About The Crown Season 4," 13 Oct. 2020 Nine additional students and two staff members are being required to quarantine after contact tracing conducted by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the district said in a release posted by athletic director Michael Ptacek. Matt Goul, cleveland, "North Olmsted cancels OHSAA football playoff game vs. Avon to follow coronavirus protocol," 13 Oct. 2020 Judge Lloyd Carter issued a five-day stay on the release the same day the lawsuit was filed. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "AA shrine, haunted houses, tramway: News from around our 50 states," 12 Oct. 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

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Release.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 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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