verb re·lin·quish \ri-ˈliŋ-kwish, -ˈlin-\

Definition of relinquish

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to withdraw or retreat from :  leave behind

  3. 2 :  give up relinquish a title

  4. 3a :  to stop holding physically :  release slowly relinquished his grip on the barb :  to give over possession or control of :  yield few leaders willingly relinquish power


play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of relinquish in a sentence

  1. They had turned to an open adoption after pursuing infertility treatments for 18 years, and the birth mother had agreed to relinquish custody at the hospital. —Emily Nussbaum, Discover, January 2000

  2. In April of that year Albert Slyusar, one of the legendary figures of the Afghanistan war, had relinquished command of 103 Guards Airborne Division. —Carey Schofield, The Russian Elite, 1993

  3. The feedback seems to operate on the premise that people who relinquish the civilized art of maintaining creative cities are not to be entrusted with the risks of developing further. —Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations, (1984) 1985

  4. The Major no sooner heard the voice, than he relinquished Mr Dombey's arm, darted forward, took the hand of the lady in the chair and pressed it to his lips. —Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, 1848

  5. I will not relinquish my rights.

  6. She was forced to relinquish control of the project.

  7. The court ordered him to relinquish custody of his child.

Origin and Etymology of relinquish

Middle English relinquisshen, from Anglo-French relinquiss-, stem of relinquir, from Latin relinquere to leave behind, from re- + linquere to leave — more at loan

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of relinquish

relinquish, yield, resign, surrender, abandon, waive mean to give up completely. relinquish usually does not imply strong feeling but may suggest some regret, reluctance, or weakness relinquished her crown. yield implies concession or compliance or submission to force the troops yielded ground grudgingly. resign emphasizes voluntary relinquishment or sacrifice without struggle resigned her position. surrender implies a giving up after a struggle to retain or resist surrendered their claims. abandon stresses finality and completeness in giving up abandoned all hope. waive implies conceding or forgoing with little or no compulsion waived the right to a trial by jury.

RELINQUISH Defined for English Language Learners


verb re·lin·quish \ri-ˈliŋ-kwish, -ˈlin-\

Definition of relinquish for English Language Learners

  • : to give up (something) : to give (something, such as power, control, or possession) to another person or group

RELINQUISH Defined for Kids


verb re·lin·quish \ri-ˈliŋ-kwish\

Definition of relinquish for Students




  1. :  to let go of :  give up “She's not the type to relinquish her new powers.” — Avi, Crispin

Seen and Heard

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to criticize severely

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