re·​ly | \ ri-ˈlī How to pronounce rely (audio) \
relied; relying

Definition of rely

intransitive verb

1 : to be dependent the system on which we rely for water
2 : to have confidence based on experience someone you can rely on

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Other Words from rely

relier \ ri-​ˈlī(-​ə)r How to pronounce relier (audio) \ noun

Examples of rely in a Sentence

rigorously tested the rope before starting out, for the rock climbers would be relying on it with their very lives
Recent Examples on the Web For weeks, the public relied only on leaks and comments from lawmakers to get details from the depositions. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Read all the transcripts from the closed-door testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry," 5 Nov. 2019 Richardson is one of just three returning players for Oregon, which is led by point guard Payton Pritchard and will have to rely far more on shooting than last season. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks basketball aiming for faster pace, outside shooting to open 2019-20," 5 Nov. 2019 After all, while festivals may seem to outsiders like a superfluous part of film marketing, independent filmmakers rely on them for networking and potential distribution, investment and development opportunities. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, ""People Can Be Exploited": How Below-the-Radar Film Festivals Prey on Struggling Moviemakers," 31 Oct. 2019 And why Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley don't want to have to rely on others not up to those standards. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: What do the Heat do next with Waiters, Johnson?," 27 Oct. 2019 Despite the perennial waters of Ganeshbahar, the villagers have to rely on the monsoon for irrigating their crops. Nithyanand Rao, Quartz India, "An IISc scientist joins hands with remote Indian tribals to gently harness a river," 23 Oct. 2019 Polls indicate Trudeau's Liberal Party could lose to the rival Conservatives, or perhaps win but still fail to get a majority of seats in Parliament and have to rely on an opposition party to remain in power. Rob Gillies, Anchorage Daily News, "Liberal icon Trudeau fights to stay in power as Canada votes," 22 Oct. 2019 Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of its exports. Fox News, "Canada's Conservatives offer bland option to Trudeau's flash in Monday's national elections," 21 Oct. 2019 Canada relies on the U.S. for 75 percent of its exports. Rob Gillies, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Canada’s Conservatives offer bland option to Trudeau’s flash," 20 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rely.' 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 rely

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rely

Middle English relien to rally, from Anglo-French relier to retie, gather, rally, from Latin religare to tie out of the way, from re- + ligare to tie — more at ligature

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Statistics for rely

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Rely.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for rely


re·​ly | \ ri-ˈlī How to pronounce rely (audio) \
relied; relying

Kids Definition of rely

: to trust in or depend on I rely on my family to help me out.
relied; relying

Legal Definition of rely

: to depend with confidence : place faith

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More from Merriam-Webster on rely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rely

Spanish Central: Translation of rely

Nglish: Translation of rely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rely for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rely

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strength of mind

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