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 relinquishment (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 For fans who decide to relinquish their seats this year, IMS is offering an account credit good for other IMS events including 2020 practices, qualifying and Carb Day, as well as October's Harvest Grand Prix at IMS or renewal for 2021 tickets. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "7 things fans need to know about new 2020 Indy 500 plan," 27 June 2020 Joyce, 63, who spent his entire 40-year career at the company, won’t officially relinquish his duties until Sept. 1. Randy Tucker,, "David Joyce stepping down as head of GE Aviation after 12 years as president and CEO," 15 June 2020 The Chinese government, for instance, already has a pilot program for an official digital version of its currency, while other governments have been loathe to relinquish the sovereignty of a national currency to the blockchain. Vildana Hajric,, "Singer Akon Is Launching a Cryptocurrency, Building Senegal City," 15 June 2020 The sanctions are an escalation of the Trump administration’s efforts to choke off Venezuela’s oil industry, a main source of revenue to the Maduro regime, in order to pressure it to relinquish power. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Signs US oil production is returning," 3 June 2020 President Trump already faces criticism across the globe for a response to the coronavirus pandemic that has led the United States to relinquish its longtime role as a global leader in times of crisis. Benjamin Mueller,, "Global anger grows over a death in Minneapolis," 1 June 2020 If relinquishing your unneeded possessions to the poor was a moral act, then why not redecorate and create a few more? Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "The End of Minimalism," 8 June 2020 Wilkerson later quit the Indiana All-Star team and relinquished Mr. Basketball to Fuller. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Gary Roosevelt, New Castle, Washington, Jeffersonville reach Build-A-Team Final Four," 8 June 2020 The colonial officers began to relinquish control to indigenous civil servants, politicians, newspaper editors, and detectives. Emmanuel Iduma, The New York Review of Books, "Cyprian Ekwensi’s Lagos Noir," 2 June 2020

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

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relinquish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for relinquish


How to pronounce relinquish (audio)

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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