res·​cue | \ˈre-(ˌ)skyü \
rescued; rescuing

Definition of rescue 

transitive verb

: to free from confinement, danger, or evil : save, deliver: such as

a : to take (someone, such as a prisoner) forcibly from custody

b : to recover (something, such as a prize) by force

c : to deliver (a place under siege) by armed force

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Other Words from rescue

rescuable \ ˈre-​(ˌ)skyü-​ə-​bəl \ adjective
rescue noun
rescuer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for rescue

rescue, deliver, redeem, ransom, reclaim, save mean to set free from confinement or danger. rescue implies freeing from imminent danger by prompt or vigorous action. rescued the crew of a sinking ship deliver implies release usually of a person from confinement, temptation, slavery, or suffering. delivered his people from bondage redeem implies releasing from bondage or penalties by giving what is demanded or necessary. job training designed to redeem school dropouts from chronic unemployment ransom specifically applies to buying out of captivity. tried to ransom the kidnap victim reclaim suggests a bringing back to a former state or condition of someone or something abandoned or debased. reclaimed long-abandoned farms save may replace any of the foregoing terms; it may further imply a preserving or maintaining for usefulness or continued existence. an operation that saved my life

Examples of rescue in a Sentence

The survivors were rescued by the Coast Guard. an all-out effort to rescue a beached whale

Recent Examples on the Web

Maybe she was rescued and is lying in a hospital bed somewhere. Kelli Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage," 15 Oct. 2018 An Indonesian teenager has been rescued from the ocean after spending 49 days adrift at sea. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Indonesian Teenager Rescued After 49 Days Adrift At Sea," 24 Sep. 2018 He was rescued in late August near Guam, after managing to send a radio frequency to a tanker named Arpeggio on Aug. 31. Edmund Demarche, Fox News, "Indonesian teen survives 49 days adrift without paddle, but with Bible: report," 24 Sep. 2018 Singer Daniel Emmet was ultimately rescued by the viewers, and magician Aaron Crow was saved by the judges, forcing dance group The Future Kingz to pack their bags. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "'America's Got Talent' Fans Are Not Happy About the Judges Saving Magician Aaron Crow," 30 Aug. 2018 His name’s Potato and he was rescued from an Oakland parking lot. Eric Johnson, Recode, "If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem, Jaron Lanier says," 27 July 2018 On Tuesday, the remaining members of the Thai youth soccer team who had been trapped in a flooded, labyrinthine cave complex for three weeks were finally rescued. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Thai Cave Story May Be Turned Into Museum, Movies," 12 July 2018 On Tuesday, more than 500 people were rescued from an express train that got stuck because of waterlogged tracks. Washington Post, "Mudslide kills 9 in India’s remote mountainous northeast," 11 July 2018 Willa’s real family – husband, sons – are cavalier to the point of cruelty with her; these new people need her, and set about rescuing her, in typical Tylerian fashion, from her own manners. Charles Finch, USA TODAY, "Time heals family wounds in Anne Tyler's lovely new novel, 'Clock Dance'," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rescue.' 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 rescue

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rescue

Middle English rescouen, rescuen, from Anglo-French rescure, from re- + escure to shake off, from Latin excutere, from ex- + quatere to shake

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Statistics for rescue

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rescue

The first known use of rescue was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for rescue



English Language Learners Definition of rescue

: to save (someone or something) from danger or harm


res·​cue | \ˈre-skyü \
rescued; rescuing

Kids Definition of rescue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to free from danger : save The family's dog was rescued from the fire.

Other Words from rescue

rescuer noun



Kids Definition of rescue (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of freeing someone or something from danger

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More from Merriam-Webster on rescue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rescue

Spanish Central: Translation of rescue

Nglish: Translation of rescue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rescue for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rescue

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a private place of worship

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