re·​lin·​quish | \ ri-ˈliŋ-kwish How to pronounce relinquish (audio) , -ˈlin- \
relinquished; relinquishing; relinquishes

Definition of relinquish

transitive verb

1 : to withdraw or retreat from : leave behind
2 : give up relinquish a title
3a : 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

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Other Words from relinquish

relinquishment \ ri-​ˈliŋ-​kwish-​mənt How to pronounce relinquish (audio) , -​ˈlin-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of relinquish in a Sentence

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 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 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 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 I will not relinquish my rights. She was forced to relinquish control of the project. The court ordered him to relinquish custody of his child.
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Recent Examples on the Web Waltz argued that a withdrawal will allow the Afghan government to fall and relinquish strategic basing options for great power competition with Russia, China, and Iran. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Hawkish lawmakers and experts skeptical about full Afghanistan withdrawal decision," 13 Apr. 2021 Debates within the ruling party forced Prime Minister Kim Kielsen to relinquish a party chairmanship post last year as well. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "China’s Rare-Earths Quest Upends Greenland’s Government," 7 Apr. 2021 That would kickstart a 19-0 UConn run that gave the Huskies a nine-point edge, an advantage the Huskies would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Alexa Philippou,, "UConn freshman phenom Paige Bueckers comes through again — when her team needs it most," 29 Mar. 2021 Michael Jordan, the only former player to own a controlling stake in a NBA franchise, was forced to relinquish his equity in the Washington Wizards ahead of his second act as a player with the team in the early aughts. Jordan Lebeau, Quartz, "LeBron James is the only thing stopping himself from owning an NBA franchise," 19 Mar. 2021 The economic fallout from the coronavirus also forced the former owners of the upscale Pinecrest in Orange to relinquish it to a lender. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Shaker Square’s future in doubt; owner faces foreclosure lawsuit as nonprofits seek to save historic shopping center," 21 Jan. 2021 Protesters want the military to relinquish power and release Aung San Suu Kyi, a civilian political leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner. USA Today, "What's happening in Myanmar? Military coup and protests explained visually," 20 Mar. 2021 But major critiques of U.N. restructuring ultimately fall on the composition and workings of the Security Council, where neither China nor the United States seems willing to relinquish its veto-wielding powers. Washington Post, "Trump and Xi clash as U.N. marks a gloomy 75th birthday," 23 Sep. 2020 The game was tied at 76 when Davis made a steal, and Justin Smith dunked it to a lead the Hogs would not relinquish. Wally Hall, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | WALLY HALL: Late rally pushes Razorbacks by Texas A&M," 7 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of relinquish

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for relinquish

Time Traveler

The first known use of relinquish was in the 15th century

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Statistics for relinquish

Last Updated

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relinquish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for relinquish



English Language Learners Definition of relinquish

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


re·​lin·​quish | \ ri-ˈliŋ-kwish How to pronounce relinquish (audio) \
relinquished; relinquishing

Kids Definition of relinquish

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

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