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

Three stranded kayakers on Ontario's Clapperton Island in the north channel of Lake Huron were rescued on Thursday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "How Great Lakes kayakers saved themselves after being stranded," 6 July 2018 Through numerous direct service programs and a network of 400 not for profit partner agencies, Feeding South Florida rescues 46 million pounds of food annually. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Jewish Federation, Feeding South Florida partner to help needy," 5 July 2018 Kudos all the same to Brown for rescuing this play from the dustbin. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Love and death in Spring Green: 'The Recruiting Officer,' 'Exit the King'," 3 July 2018 When they were rescued this week, the world cheered. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Diving masks from San Marcos company helped rescue of Thai boys from cave," 11 July 2018 All 12 teenagers, their soccer coach and four Navy SEALs who rescued them are well and recovering, the director of Thailand's Chiang Rai hospital told reporters. NBC News, "Thai cave rescue boys wave from hospital, begin to recover," 11 July 2018 He and his group were eventually rescued by Haitian SWAT, sent by Police Chief Michel-Ange Gédéon to extract them from the Cabaret police station and take them to the SWAT's base. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Flights slowly resume in Haiti after gas price hike reversed but tensions remain high," 8 July 2018 Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, invites the team and their coach to the World Cup finals, if they're rescued in time and healthy enough to attend. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Thai Cave Rescue Mission: A Day-by-Day Timeline," 7 July 2018 But rescuing them is proving difficult, as the way out of the cave complex is still inundated and most of the team does not know how to swim. The Economist, "Politics this week," 5 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

19 Oct 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

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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