verb re·lin·quish \ ri-ˈliŋ-kwish , -ˈlin- \
|Updated on: 12 Jul 2018

Definition of relinquish

relinquished; relinquishing; relinquishes
1 : to withdraw or retreat from : leave behind
2 : give up
  • relinquish a title
3 a : to stop holding physically : release
  • slowly relinquished his grip on the bar
b : to give over possession or control of : yield
  • few leaders willingly relinquish power


play \ri-ˈliŋ-kwish-mənt, -ˈlin-\ 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 NussbaumDiscoverJanuary 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 SchofieldThe Russian Elite1993
  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 JacobsCities 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 DickensDombey and Son1848
  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.

Recent Examples of relinquish from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relinquish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

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


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

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

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