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

Other Words from rely

relier \ ri-​ˈlī(-​ə)r How to pronounce rely (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 Made up of carbon-negative biochar, vegan compost, and root-boosting mycorrhizae, Rosy Soil doesn't rely on peat moss, the main ingredient in commercial potting mixes. Bryce Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Aug. 2022 Don't rely on hoping your job application makes it through the applicant tracking system. Caroline Castrillon, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Ahjané Forbes, Hartford Courant, 2 Aug. 2022 An industry that prides itself on decentralization shouldn't rely on the government to save it from itself. Emily Parker For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 1 Aug. 2022 The federal government also lifted price caps on natural gas and created incentives for more renewable energy sources to take root in markets around the country, hoping to prop up technologies that didn’t rely on oil and gas. Christopher M. Matthews, WSJ, 30 July 2022 Don’t rely on one of those tiny, folding entrenching tools. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 30 July 2022 TikTok also doesn’t rely on its users to manually share content with friends or followers to surface compelling offerings. Cal Newport, The New Yorker, 28 July 2022 This constituted a more complex case of object recognition; the dogs could not simply rely on familiarity with the toys to retrieve the target toy successfully. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 27 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near rely



rely on/upon

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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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.


intransitive verb
relied; relying

Legal Definition of rely

: to depend with confidence : place faith

More from Merriam-Webster on rely

Nglish: Translation of rely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rely for Arabic Speakers


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