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

Meanwhile the 10 to 15 million Americans who rely on opioids to control their chronic pain – and who are not contributing to the drug epidemic – were caught in the cross fire, Kroenke said. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Did the crackdown on opioid prescriptions go too far? Here's why doctors are reconsidering," 10 June 2019 During the runoff, Nirenberg relied on progressive constituencies to help secure his victory. Dylan Mcguinness,, "San Antonio mayor, with slim reelection margin, looks ahead," 9 June 2019 This is especially difficult on low-income families, who rely on school not only for care, but for free breakfast and lunches. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, "Summer is sexist: Women have to sweat 'bikini bodies,' hair removal, camp and crime," 7 June 2019 The sisters relied on each other and had a close bond. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Sister of woman accused of supporting ISIS shares her family's story: 'I've always been there for her'," 7 June 2019 With the graduation of Bryce Brown, the Tigers will rely on guys like Memphis transfer Jamal Johnson and incoming freshman Tyrell Jones. Sam Blum |,, "Auburn basketball gains commitment from 3-star shooting guard," 7 June 2019 Wyman, a single mother who relied on her job to support herself and her child, agreed to the dinners to maintain her job security and ensure she wasn’t seen as unmotivated or unfriendly, the suit claimed. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, "Boss at Warriors sponsor Rakuten sabotaged woman’s job for spurning his advances, lawsuit claims," 6 June 2019 Huawei also relies on several American semiconductor companies, including Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia, and Lattice, along with British-American chipmaker ARM, to supply parts for its devices. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "Huawei Strikes a 5G Deal in Russia as the Chinese Tech Giant Remains on U.S. Blacklist," 6 June 2019 For Carton, the extended line will spread the defense and can be to his advantage as a player who relies on his speed, athleticism and ball-handling ability to dominate games. Stephen Means,, "Ohio State basketball’s DJ Carton says he’s well prepared for the NCAA’s new 3-point line," 5 June 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

13 Jun 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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