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 These urban centers can be the tipping point for candidates—especially Democrats, who rely on a big Election Day turnout. WSJ, "Inside the Counties That Will Help Decide the 2020 Election," 9 Oct. 2020 The subcommittee report accuses Google of unfairly using its dominance in search to give its other business offerings—like Froogle, now known as Google Shopping—an advantage over competitors who rely on Google search to reach customers. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "The 14 Juiciest Quotes From the House Antitrust Report," 8 Oct. 2020 Without it, those who rely on manipulative medicine would suffer, their pain harder to manage without the skilled application of osteopathic techniques. Eleanor Cummins, The Atlantic, "Trump’s Doctor Comes From a Uniquely American Brand of Medicine," 6 Oct. 2020 There are thousands of families in my district who rely on resource development for their livelihoods. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska House District 24 — Tom McKay," 3 Oct. 2020 Bozrah: About 1,000 people who rely on food from the Meals on Wheels program won’t get new deliveries for the next two weeks because of precautions being taken after a worker was exposed to the coronavirus. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Football parties, ‘Twin Peaks’ hotel, ballot rules: News from around our 50 states," 2 Oct. 2020 The losses are hard to accept for many who rely on such programs to provide a sanctuary for their family. Sarah Ravani,, "‘My heart sank’: Camp for kids with cancer damaged in North Complex Fire," 27 Sep. 2020 However, for the patients who rely on these hospitals, their concerns aren’t about budgets and bottom lines. NBC News, "Second Covid-19 wave could turn cracks in the hospital system into 'earthquakes'," 26 Sep. 2020 Friday’s order, however, suggests a more complete ban that could drastically affect Asian Americans who rely on the service to maintain contact with family and friends overseas. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "TikTok and WeChat aren’t getting banned after all—but that could change," 21 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

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 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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