res·​cue | \ ˈre-(ˌ)skyü How to pronounce rescue (audio) \
rescued; rescuing

Definition of rescue

transitive verb

: to free from confinement, danger, or evil : save, deliver They were rescued from the burning building by firefighters. … a volunteer group that rescues and nurtures injured and orphaned wildlife …Australian Geographic(figurative) … the acanthus leaf into which the light fixture on the hall ceiling is set was rescued from a curbside trash heap.— Barbara Deane : 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 How to pronounce rescuable (audio) \ adjective
rescue noun
Historians are wary of the notion that, at a critical point in history, a heroic figure, galloping to the rescue, snatches victory from the jaws of defeat … — James MacGregor Burns
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 The students boarded a school bus on its side before professionals with Klein Fire Department, Cypress Creek EMS and Harris County Hazardous Materials response team came to rescue them in full force. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Klein ISD hosts mock bus crash training exercise for northwest Houston first responders," 4 Mar. 2020 In 2002, a Reuters photo became emblematic of the riots, showing a Muslim tailor, his shirt flecked with blood, imploring security forces with folded hands to rescue him from a mob that was surrounding his house. Samanth Subramanian, The New Yorker, "How the Indian Government Watched Delhi Burn," 27 Feb. 2020 Emergency crews rescued several people trapped in the wreckage after the bus crashed around 10:20 a.m. on State Route 76, about 45 miles north of San Diego, the North County Fire Protection District said., "Ex-US envoy to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has book deal," 22 Feb. 2020 Firefighters used ladders to rescue multiple people from a burning apartment building at 600 Commons Drive, according to a Miami Township Fire and Emergency Medical Services social media account. Chris Mayhew,, "Firefighters rescue people from Miami Township apartment fire, one person seriously injured," 20 Feb. 2020 Although more than 1,500 passengers and crew perished in the disaster, the distress calls brought ships that rescued about 700 people. Sheena Jones, CNN, "A company with rights to remove artifacts from the Titanic asks court to allow it to recover famous radio," 19 Feb. 2020 Rescue teams were working to rescue people trapped under an earlier avalanche that struck on Tuesday, killing five people. NBC News, "Avalanche kills at least 21, leaves others trapped in eastern Turkey," 5 Feb. 2020 Madeleine L'Engle's novel, which takes readers on a spiritual journey through space-time to rescue people from evil, won the Newbery Medal in 1963 for best children's novel. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Children travel the universe and confront evil in First Stage's 'A Wrinkle in Time'," 25 Jan. 2020 But Lockheed Martin, which sponsored the race, is hoping the technological advances pushed by such events will one day create drones that can help police and firefighters rescue people from emergency situations. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Robotic Drones, a New Flight Simulator, and More Car News This Week," 15 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for rescue

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rescue

Last Updated

8 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rescue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for rescue


How to pronounce rescue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rescue

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


res·​cue | \ ˈre-skyü How to pronounce rescue (audio) \
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

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