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 Many rely on their families as adults and aren’t able to live on their own. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "Autism Alliance hopes to be the catalyst for 100K jobs in Michigan," 19 Sep. 2020 People with disabilities or limited language skills often rely on assistance at the polls to cast ballots. Donovan Slack, USA TODAY, "Trump appointees torpedo report on voting access during coronavirus pandemic," 18 Sep. 2020 Chinese authorities rely on WeChat to monitor political dissidents and other critics, some of whom have been detained by police or sentenced to prison for their posts on the platform. Washington Post, "Trump faces a bigger decision than TikTok -- What to do about China’s WeChat," 18 Sep. 2020 Both companies rely on independent contractor workforces, and say that reclassifying them as employees would undercut their business models. Carolyn Said,, "Federal judge tosses Uber lawsuit challenging AB5," 18 Sep. 2020 With 13 players on loan abroad in Europe and Brazil, the Pride will rely on a younger group in North Carolina. Julia Poe,, "Orlando Pride thrilled to play after nearly a year of delays," 18 Sep. 2020 Social media companies therefore rely on adaptive algorithms to assess our interests and flood us with information that will keep us scrolling. Christopher Seneca, Wired, "How to Break Out of Your Social Media Echo Chamber," 17 Sep. 2020 On a quick turnaround, the Bengals will rely on their running back in Week 2. Tyler Dragon, The Enquirer, "Battle of Ohio: Three keys, prediction for Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns," 17 Sep. 2020 Diagnostic tests for the coronavirus mostly rely on a technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects the virus’s genetic material. Clayton Dalton, The New Yorker, "Why a Negative Test Doesn’t Guarantee You Don’t Have the Coronavirus," 16 Sep. 2020

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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Statistics for rely

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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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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Comments on rely

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