re·​ly | \ ri-ˈlī How to pronounce rely (audio) \
relied; relying

Definition of rely

intransitive verb

1 : to be dependent the system on which we rely for water
2 : to have confidence based on experience someone you can rely on

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Other Words from rely

relier \ ri-​ˈlī(-​ə)r How to pronounce relier (audio) \ noun

Examples of rely in a Sentence

rigorously tested the rope before starting out, for the rock climbers would be relying on it with their very lives

Recent Examples on the Web

On her eyes Lee relied on Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Mystère et Intensité ($62), Troy Surratt Smoky Eye Baton in Canons de Beauté Burgundy ($35), Chanel Inimitable Mascara in Brun ($32), and Chanel Le Volume Mascara in Ecorces ($32). Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Emilia Clarke Wore the Most Epic Khalessi Braid to the Game of Thrones Season 8 Premiere," 4 Apr. 2019 Budding peonies secrete nectar that ants, in turn, rely on for food. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Fact or Fiction: Do Peonies Attract Ants?," 27 Mar. 2019 Corporations are spraying pesticides that harm the soil, spearheading irrigation projects that devastate river beds, and decreasing the number of natural resources available to communities that rely upon them. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "A Brazilian Modeling Superstar Makes a Life-Changing Journey Into the Amazon," 7 Mar. 2019 Terry died 12 years ago, at 50, from a rare brain tumor — an illness La Rhea thinks was related to a childhood spent on a farm that relied on synthetic pesticides. Erin Quinn-kong, Woman's Day, "Are Your Fast-Fashion Clothes Killing Farmers?," 14 Feb. 2019 Both of our cats came from animal shelters that heavily relied upon donations. . Marie Claire, "A Longtime Couple, a Strict Financial Blueprint, and Multiple Joint Accounts," 7 Mar. 2019 Since the space shuttle Endeavour's launch in 2011, the space agency has relied solely on Russia's Soyuz space craft to ferry astronauts and supplies into orbit. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX's First Manned Mission to The ISS Could Come as Quickly as July," 4 Mar. 2019 Don’t just rely on the in-ceiling lighting—make sure to bring in a great desk lamp, table lamps on a credenza, or a floor lamp. Liz Cantrell, ELLE Decor, "How to Make Your Office a "Home Away From Home"," 25 Feb. 2019 Birds rely on these food sources most heavily during the colder months, so don't let the temperatures outside discourage you from refilling your feeders. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How Birds Stay Warm in the Winter, In Case You Were Wondering," 1 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rely.' 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 rely

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rely

Middle English relien to rally, from Anglo-French relier to retie, gather, rally, from Latin religare to tie out of the way, from re- + ligare to tie — more at ligature

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Dictionary Entries near rely





rely on/upon



Statistics for rely

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rely

The first known use of rely was in 1574

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More Definitions for rely


re·​ly | \ ri-ˈlī How to pronounce rely (audio) \
relied; relying

Kids Definition of rely

: to trust in or depend on I rely on my family to help me out.
relied; relying

Legal Definition of rely

: to depend with confidence : place faith

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More from Merriam-Webster on rely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rely

Spanish Central: Translation of rely

Nglish: Translation of rely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rely for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rely

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


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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