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 other is the Lady with the Turquoise Hair, a fairy portrayed by the spritely Kristi Licera who keeps rescuing Lil Pine Nut from his scrapes and troubles. Lauren Warnecke,, "Chicago Dance Crash pulls off a hip-hop take on ‘Pinocchio’ — brilliantly," 26 Aug. 2019 The incident was a public relations nightmare for Putin, who refused other countries’ offers to help rescue the sinking sub while the Kremlin misled and manipulated the public. Sabra Ayresmoscow Correspondent, Los Angeles Times, "After a deadly nuclear missile test in Russia’s north, the Kremlin stuck to an old Soviet habit: Secrecy," 13 Aug. 2019 Spain’s Brota Festival, a beachside music weekend known for its commitment to sustainability, has partnered with the Spanish Refugee Assistance Commission (CEAR) to give jobs to migrants rescued in Mediterranean waters. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Brota Festival Partners With Spanish Refugee Assistance Commission to Offer Jobs," 9 Aug. 2019 Later agreements assign liability for damage caused by space objects and require states to help rescue astronauts in distress. The Economist, "Space law is inadequate for the boom in human activity there," 17 July 2019 And as mentioned above, Bill Tindall was the NASA official from Houston who stepped in and rescued the Apollo computers from a slow-moving disaster at MIT that would otherwise have crippled them, and the mission itself. Kevin Spear,, "Apollo 11 and race to the moon helped create the world we live in today, technologically and culturally, author says," 14 July 2019 Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old skipper of the rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, defied authorities and forced her way into an Italian port over the weekend in a vessel carrying 40 African migrants rescued near the Libyan coast about two weeks ago. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Rescue-Ship Fracas Revives Europe’s Migrant Debate," 3 July 2019 The Alaska Sealife Center also rehabilitates rescued animals from around the state. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, "Expecting summer visitors? These 3 trips will give them a great Alaska experience," 8 June 2019 The dogs were forced to walk in their own feces and live in kitchen cabinets Nearly 50 dogs were rescued from deplorable living conditions at an alleged hoarder's home in Matagorda County Tuesday. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Nearly 50 dogs rescued from alleged hoarder's house in Matagorda County," 21 Aug. 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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Statistics for rescue

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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 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

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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