relief

noun
re·​lief | \ ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio) \

Definition of relief

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a payment made by a male feudal tenant to his lord on succeeding to an inherited estate
2a : removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing
c : military assistance to an endangered post or force
d : means of breaking or avoiding monotony or boredom : diversion
3 : release from a post or from the performance of duty
4 : one that takes the place of another on duty
5 : legal remedy or redress

6 [ French, from Middle French, from Italian rilievo relievo ]

a : a mode of sculpture in which forms and figures are distinguished from a surrounding plane surface
b : sculpture or a sculptural form executed in this mode
c : projecting detail, ornament, or figures
7a : sharpness of outline due to contrast a roof in bold relief against the sky
b : the state of being distinguished by contrast throws the two opinions into bold relief
8 : the elevations or inequalities of a land surface
9 : the pitching done by a relief pitcher two innings of hitless relief

relief

adjective

Definition of relief (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : providing relief
2 : characterized by surface inequalities
3 : of or used in letterpress

Illustration of relief

Illustration of relief

Noun

relief 6b

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for relief

Synonyms: Noun

cheer, comfort, consolation, solace

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Examples of relief in a Sentence

Noun

I felt such a sense of relief after I finished my thesis. He expressed relief that the crisis was finally over. Much to everyone's relief, the airplane took off without any problems. What a relief it is to be back home. Exercise is an excellent source of stress relief. Both candidates promised tax relief for middle-class families. Countries from around the world have been sending relief to the flood victims. We donated to the relief effort for the hurricane victims. My father lost his job and we had to go on relief.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The flooding has sparked a sharp rise in infections, including diarrhea and malaria, government and relief officials... Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, "Swaths of Southern Africa Remain Inundated Following Cyclone Idai," 25 Mar. 2019 Use the right methods that really work — no witch hazel or apple cider vinegar, please! — and sweet, sweet relief is within sight. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mosquito Bites and Stop Itching ASAP," 18 Mar. 2019 The House, in particular, will almost certainly take a hard look at the F-15EX controversy and may even refuse to fund it--much to the Air Force’s relief. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Asks for Nearly 380 Aircraft, But One Buy Is Raising Eyebrows," 13 Mar. 2019 Either way, the Chiefs could sorely use the salary cap relief to shore up other areas of the defense. Dave Skretta, The Seattle Times, "Chiefs turning to Spagnuolo to shore up sieve-like defensive," 20 Feb. 2019 The companies continued to trade blows in public, and Faraday Future was awarded some relief: a Hong Kong arbitrator decided in October that the startup could seek new funding. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Trump administration criticizes Chinese company’s attempted takeover of Faraday Future," 21 Nov. 2018 Those missteps brought some other shortcomings — the atmosphere, mostly — into sharper relief. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: India Oven brings the heat on West Avenue," 12 July 2018 Holding a damp cloth on the area a few times a day can bring relief and speed healing. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, ""I Have a Cold Sore. Does That Mean I Have Herpes?"," 22 Feb. 2019 For the dining chairs, Beall chose a deep red velvet relief fabric by Jonathan Adler that’s durable enough for nightly meals. Vanessa Gregory, ELLE Decor, "A Recently Renovated Mid-Century Home in Knoxville, Tennessee," 7 Feb. 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for relief

Noun

Middle English relef, relief, from Anglo-French from relever to relieve

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Statistics for relief

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for relief

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

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More Definitions for relief

relief

noun

English Language Learners Definition of relief

: a pleasant and relaxed feeling that someone has when something unpleasant stops or does not happen
: the removal or reducing of something that is painful or unpleasant
: things (such as food, money, or medicine) that are given to help people who are victims of a war, earthquake, flood, etc.

relief

noun
re·​lief | \ ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio) \

Kids Definition of relief

1 : the feeling of happiness that occurs when something unpleasant or distressing stops or does not happen What a relief to be home safe.
2 : removal or lessening of something painful or troubling I need relief from this headache.
3 : something that interrupts in a welcome way The rain was a relief from dry weather.
4 : release from a post or from performance of a duty relief of a guard
6 : a sculpture in which figures or designs are raised from a background
7 : elevations of a land surface The map shows relief.

relief

noun
re·​lief | \ ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio) \

Medical Definition of relief

: removal or lightening of something oppressive or distressing relief of pain symptomatic relief

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relief

noun
re·​lief

Legal Definition of relief

: redress, assistance, or protection given by law especially from a court should state what relief the plaintiff seeks : as
a : release from obligation or duty relief from judgment
b : an order from a court granting a particular remedy (as return of property) injunctive relief declaratory relief — see also remedy

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More from Merriam-Webster on relief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with relief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for relief

Spanish Central: Translation of relief

Nglish: Translation of relief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relief for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about relief

Comments on relief

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