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

All 13 people were rescued by the morning of July 10. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "The Newest Adventure Movies You Can Watch Right Now," 12 July 2018 On July 10, all twelve members of a Thai youth soccer team and their coach were rescued from a cave that they had been trapped in since June 23, CBS News reported. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "American Studio Pure Flix Is Reportedly Making the Thai Cave Rescue Into a Movie," 11 July 2018 The 12 members of the Thai soccer team and their coach who’ve been trapped in a cave in northern Thailand for more than two weeks have all been rescued. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "How the 12 Thai boys were finally rescued," 10 July 2018 Brianna Soukup / Portland Press Herald via Getty Images All of the members of the Thai soccer team, and their coach, have been rescued. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Investing in vapor wares like Juul could be lucrative. But some Silicon Valley VCs draw the line at vice.," 10 July 2018 Eight boys have been rescued thus far, leaving four and the team’s coach in the cave. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is Elon Musk’s “kid-sized submarine” a gimmick?," 9 July 2018 The windmill was rescued from a nearby farm and stands inside one of the dining rooms with a secluded table inside. Shonda Talerico Dudlicek, Elgin Courier-News, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Port Edward in Algonquin," 7 July 2018 She and her siblings were recently rescued by A New Leash on Life, a Huntsville rescue organization. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Team of Rescuers Save Deaf Puppy Trapped in 50-foot Hole for More Than 30 Hours," 2 July 2018 The 265-pound Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was rescued in February on on Ponte Vedra Beach. Gabrielle Russon,, "SeaWorld: Good news animal story — 'Sharkie' the dolphin set free," 2 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

7 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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