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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web That all changed in 2019 after Steinmetz ended a seven-year dispute with Guinea’s government that saw him relinquish claims on half of the mine., "China to Approve Developing Guinea’s Giant Simandou Iron Ore Mine," 10 May 2020 But in most states, employees who can file a claim through workers’ compensation, a type of insurance, must take that route and relinquish the right to sue, lawyers say. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Workers face 'uphill battle' proving firms liable if they catch COVID-19 as economy reopens," 29 Apr. 2020 Wilkerson later quit the Indiana All-Stars team and relinquished Mr. Basketball to Fuller. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Build-A-Team: Putting together the best Jeffersonville basketball team," 20 Apr. 2020 But Trump took the podium instead and has not relinquished the stage much since, belatedly making himself the face of the battle against the virus. Anchorage Daily News, "Signs missed and steps slowed in Trump’s pandemic response," 12 Apr. 2020 Using cash rather than credit cards typically hurts more, because paper money must be physically relinquished. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Stop Believing in Free Shipping," 5 Feb. 2020 Hired by an eccentric director to work on a true-crime movie about a long-ago murder, Marissa travels to an island off the coast of Delaware where she’s ordered to relinquish her phone, talk to no one and remain isolated in her room when not on set. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Need a Distraction? These Thrillers Will Have You on the Edge of Your Seat," 20 Mar. 2020 Shaker jumped out to a 24-10 lead and never relinquished it, as Shammah Scott's burst on both ends of the court curtailed a McKinley rally within four points in the fourth quarter. Matt Goul, cleveland, "See how Shaker Heights and Mentor advanced to the OHSAA Division I regional finals," 12 Mar. 2020 The most recent politician to do wrong and attempt a comeback is former Ward 2 council member Jack Evans, who filed to run for his old seat days after relinquishing it, when was facing expulsion by his peers over ethics violations. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "After embezzling youth funds, a former D.C. lawmaker reenters politics," 6 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about relinquish

Time Traveler for relinquish

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for relinquish

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relinquish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on relinquish

What made you want to look up relinquish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!