re·ly | \ ri-ˈlī \
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 \ 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

Those tariffs will increase costs for U.S. firms that rely on Chinese chemicals imports to create more complex products in the U.S., said Ed Brzytwa, international trade director for the American Chemistry Council. WSJ, "From Seafood to Mattresses: How the Latest Tariffs Would Affect U.S. Businesses," 12 July 2018 His argument is that the U.S. is getting taken for a ride by European trading partners that rely on American money to defend them from Russia and other threats. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Trump's European trip: Trade wars, Brexit chaos — and a Russia quandary," 10 July 2018 Instea, the team has written software for the hill climb that relies on lidar laser sensors for real-time environment perception. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "A Racing Robocar Takes On England's Swankiest Track," 7 July 2018 The rapid rise of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft has taken a big bite out of businesses that rely on people who need to park their cars. Jack Flemming,, "Uber and Lyft are forcing Southern California parking companies to adapt or die," 7 July 2018 That could reduce water deliveries to a wide range of water users that rely on the San Joaquin and its tributaries, including the city of San Francisco and farms in the San Joaquin Valley. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers," 6 July 2018 But downstream, all of those industries that rely on steel and aluminum to make their products, and of course all consumers who purchase these goods, are going to pay more. Sean Illing, Vox, "Why you should give a shit about Trump’s tariffs, explained by an economic historian," 6 July 2018 The Turnpike Commission’s annual payment to PennDot is set to drop in 2022 to $50 million, which could create funding problems for transit agencies like SEPTA that rely on state money. Jason Laughlin,, "Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls to increase 6% in 2019," 3 July 2018 Energy storage projects like these are crucial for an energy grid, especially one that relies on renewables. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Tesla Is Revving Up to Build the World's Largest Battery Farm in California," 2 July 2018

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



Phrases Related to rely

rely on/upon

Statistics for rely

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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 \
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

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


the setting in which something occurs

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