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

By contrast, there are urgent reasons to pitch into the cause of rescuing the word debate from its currently disordered state. Patty Limerick, The Denver Post, "Limerick: Defending words from identity theft," 12 Sep. 2019 The final game before the international break saw him complete his first competitive match for the club, but Atletico looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back, conceding twice before rescuing a 3-2 victory against Eibar., "Atletico Madrid: Rating All of Los Colchoneros' Summer Signings," 7 Sep. 2019 Londa Sawyer stepped off a helicopter in Nassau, the capital, with her two children and two dogs after being rescued from Marsh Harbor in the Abaco islands. Anchorage Daily News, "Hurricane death toll climbs to 20 in devastated Bahamas," 5 Sep. 2019 After rescuing two Allied soldiers during the war, she was recruited into the French underground. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Marita Lorenz, Who Told Tales of Castro and Kennedy, Dies at 80," 5 Sep. 2019 Seaports and airports in Grand Bahama and the nearby Abaco Islands are flooded or damaged, complicating the task of rescuing people cut off by flood waters. Matthew Bristow, Fortune, "At Least 5 Dead as Hurricane Dorian Leaves the Bahamas Under Water," 3 Sep. 2019 Wilfredo Castro, a businessman, told The Associated Press by telephone after being rescued. Jim Gomez, USA TODAY, "245 heroically rescued from flame-engulfed ship in Philippine waters, 3 dead," 28 Aug. 2019 In addition, organizers have invited 50 immigrants who arrived in Southern Spain earlier this year after being rescued at sea by the organization Open Arms to attend the festival. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Brota Festival Partners With Spanish Refugee Assistance Commission to Offer Jobs," 9 Aug. 2019 And with that birth on Sunday, the prospects for rescuing their nearly extinct kin have brightened. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Birth at Safari Park marks milestone in saving nearly extinct rhino," 29 July 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

21 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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