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 rely (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 If the situation isn't fixed soon, some gas stations in the Southeast that rely on the supply could begin running short within days, experts anticipate. Editors, USA TODAY, "Liz Cheney vote, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Colonial Pipeline: 5 things to know Wednesday," 12 May 2021 Businesses that rely on app store revenue must evaluate current advertising plans against other user generation strategies and identify potential new streams of income. Derrick Morton, Forbes, "As Consumer Privacy Restrictions Tighten, Developers Call For Collaboration," 12 May 2021 Revenue streams that rely on tourists and commuters have been hardest hit by measures to control the spread of the disease. Emily Opilo,, "Baltimore’s spending board approves proposed budget with police funding hike. Next, City Council gets a crack at it.," 12 May 2021 Animals that use mating calls, for instance, are unable to hear their would-be lovers, while those that rely on their ears to avoid predators, like mice or squirrels, become increasingly vulnerable., "Franklin Park party noise is ruffling feathers at the zoo," 10 May 2021 Prices could rise 3 cents to 7 cents in states that rely on the pipeline, such as Mississippi, Tennessee and in East Coast states, from Georgia to Delaware. Collin Eaton, WSJ, "Colonial Pipeline Hack: What We Know About the Ransomware Cyberattack," 10 May 2021 But several global industries that rely on India are looking on anxiously. Diksha Madhok, CNN, "India's Covid-19 catastrophe could make global shortages even worse," 10 May 2021 And some jobs that rely in part on Twitter, including jobs in media and creative fields, have long been considered precarious. Washington Post, "Penny for your tweets: Twitter now has a tip jar that lets you collect money for posts," 9 May 2021 The strategy could mean even tougher regulations for port operators that rely on freight trucks to move their goods. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pressure rises on Port of San Diego to curb air pollution from shipping industry," 8 May 2021

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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Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on rely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rely

Nglish: Translation of rely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rely for Arabic Speakers

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