relief

1 of 2

noun

re·​lief ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio)
1
: a payment made by a male feudal tenant to his lord on succeeding to an inherited estate
2
a
: 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
7
a
: 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

Illustration of relief

Illustration of relief
  • relief 6b

relief

2 of 2

adjective

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
These borrowers do not need to take any further action to receive relief. Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 With the financial relief from less office space, organizations could allocate resources to other strategic initiatives. Gerard Szatvanyi, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 In addition to murals, the archive will also include three-dimensional reliefs, friezes and sculptures. Julia Binswanger, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Feb. 2024 The latest round pushes the total relief approved by the Biden administration to nearly $138 billion, benefiting 3.9 million borrowers. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 22 Feb. 2024 This event, which began in 2012 when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl, supports Second Helpings’ food rescue, hunger relief and culinary job training programs in central Indiana. The Indianapolis Star, 22 Feb. 2024 Now, Jacksonville attorney George Brew, handling the lawsuit for plaintiff Scott Meyer, hopes to get an injunction for the return of Meyer’s goods among other legal relief. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 22 Feb. 2024 Current research shows that probiotic supplementation likely does not provide any more significant relief compared to a low-FODMAP diet for those with IBS. Shushy Rita Setrakian Ms, Verywell Health, 21 Feb. 2024 Biden is forging ahead on a new path to narrower student loan relief after the Supreme Court rejected his earlier loan forgiveness plan. Toluse Olorunnipa, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024
Adjective
The Supreme Court has previously rejected requests to hear other cases where anti-relief plaintiffs had been dismissed by lower courts. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 15 Dec. 2022 The anti-relief faction, with its sudden warnings about deficits, is eager to revive the Tea Party spirit, and its would-be leaders are ur-Tea Partyers like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Ross Douthat New York Times, Star Tribune, 4 Aug. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'relief.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near relief

Cite this Entry

“Relief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relief. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

relief

noun
re·​lief
ri-ˈlēf
1
a
: removal or lightening of something painful, troubling, burdensome, or dangerous
c
: military assistance to a post or force in extreme danger
d
: a means of breaking boredom : diversion
a quick swim was a welcome relief from the job
2
: release from duty
3
: one that takes the place of another on duty
4
: the legal correction of a wrong
5
a
: elevation of figures or designs from the background (as in sculpture)
b
: a work of art with such raised figures
c
: projecting detail or figures in sculpture
6
: sharpness of outline
a roof in bold relief against the sky
7
: the elevations of a land surface
a map showing relief

Medical Definition

relief

noun
re·​lief ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio)
: removal or lightening of something oppressive or distressing
relief of pain
symptomatic relief

Legal Definition

relief

noun
re·​lief
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on relief

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