respite

noun
re·​spite | \ ˈre-spət also ri-ˈspīt How to pronounce respite (audio) , British usually ˈre-ˌspīt\

Definition of respite

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a period of temporary delay
2 : an interval of rest or relief

respite

verb
respited; respiting

Definition of respite (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to grant a temporary period of relief to : grant a respite to
2 : put off, delay

respite

adjective

Definition of respite (Entry 3 of 3)

: providing or being temporary care in relief of a primary caregiver respite care a respite worker

Keep scrolling for more

Respite Has Latin Roots

Noun

Originally, beginning in the late 13th century, a respite was a delay or extension asked for or granted for a specific reason-to give someone time to deliberate on a proposal, for example. Such a respite offered an opportunity for the kind of consideration inherent in the word's etymology. "Respite" traces from the Latin term respectus, which comes from a verb meaning, both literally and figuratively, "to turn around to look at" or "to regard." By the 14th century, we had granted "respite" the sense we use most often today-"a welcome break."

Examples of respite in a Sentence

Noun

But in the middle of each semester there came a short respite, separate from the traditional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. — Martha Southgate, The Fall of Rome, 2002 Six years more of toil they had to face before they could expect the least respite, the cessation of the payments upon the house … — Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, 1906 The laborer's day ends with the going down of the sun … but his employer, who speculates from month to month, has no respite from one end of the year to the other. — Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854 The bad weather has continued without respite.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During the peak heat of the day, Museo La Esquina offers a rewarding respite for children and adults alike. Nevin Martell, Washington Post, "In central Mexico, a retreat that’s perfect for families," 14 June 2019 No doubt something of earlier vintage would have offered sonic respite. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO review: A rousing debut by conductor Simone Young," 7 June 2019 Some of New York City’s poshest dining rooms are still nestled inside these retail behemoths, offering respite while enticing shoppers to linger longer on-site. Joshua Levine, WSJ, "Saks Doubles Down on Department Stores With New Restaurant in New York City," 15 Jan. 2019 The development offered some respite to several vulnerable Democrats who are facing re-election in Republican-leaning states and who had avoided taking a firm position on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Thomas Beaumont, The Seattle Times, "Kavanaugh allegation poses political risks for Dems and GOP," 17 Sep. 2018 The opening stanzas offer another rare respite from sadness, as the eponymous athletes go through the motions of a game. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "What Donald Hall Understood About Death," 26 June 2018 The beautiful game can offer only a temporary respite from ugly realities. The Economist, "Russia prepares to welcome 1m visitors for the World Cup," 13 June 2018 Ad-blocking software has for years offered a respite, but not without collateral damage to companies placing ads no one sees. Chris Baraniuk, Scientific American, "Where Will the Ad versus Ad Blocker Arms Race End?," 31 May 2018 To the side of the main bar, a den-like room stocked with cozy armchairs and plenty of TVs offers a nice respite for sports fans. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "First sip at Sanford cidery Tuffy's Bottle Shop and Lounge," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 1,200-square-foot bakery is cozy with four cafe tables that grant patrons respite while enjoying their coffee and muffin while reading the paper. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "These Phoenix hair stylists were tired of the vacant space next to their salon. So they opened a bakery," 20 June 2019 What’s more, Dinwiddie’s excellent marks as the pick-and-roll ball-handler and as an isolation scorer would provide Phoenix with efficient primary offense on certain possessions, giving Booker brief respites when needed. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Spencer Dinwiddie trade rumors: Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets trade speculation heats up," 4 June 2019 For the next six months, weekly visits from nurses and aides gave my sister respite and helped us stay ahead of skin and bowel issues that had also brought us to ERs. Jeanne Erdmann, chicagotribune.com, "At 100, my mom had dementia and needed hospice care. Getting it was nearly impossible.," 8 May 2018 The clergy met them at a Catholic Charities respite center in McAllen, Texas. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "Trump ended separating families. But what's next?," 21 June 2018 Not knowing where to go, volunteers escort the group three blocks to the Catholic Charities respite center. CBS News, "Reunited migrant families try to figure out next steps at Texas shelter," 18 June 2018 For the next six months, weekly visits from nurses and aides gave my sister respite and helped us stay ahead of skin and bowel issues that had also brought us to ERs. Jeanne Erdmann, chicagotribune.com, "At 100, my mom had dementia and needed hospice care. Getting it was nearly impossible.," 8 May 2018 For the next six months, weekly visits from nurses and aides gave my sister respite and helped us stay ahead of skin and bowel issues that had also brought us to ERs. Jeanne Erdmann, chicagotribune.com, "At 100, my mom had dementia and needed hospice care. Getting it was nearly impossible.," 8 May 2018 For the next six months, weekly visits from nurses and aides gave my sister respite and helped us stay ahead of skin and bowel issues that had also brought us to ERs. Jeanne Erdmann, chicagotribune.com, "At 100, my mom had dementia and needed hospice care. Getting it was nearly impossible.," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In addition to visiting the ORR facility, the Oregon Democrat toured a border processing center in McAllen, Texas, and a respite center run by the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Maya Rhodan, Time, "Sen. Jeff Merkley: 'Zero Tolerance' Refugee Policy Is Actually 'Zero Humanity'," 4 June 2018 The comfy seats of our pickup were a welcome respite post-headliner performances. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know Before Attending a Country Music Festival," 1 June 2018 The Alzheimer’s Association provides tips on caregiving, how to get respite care and referrals for services. Michele Parente, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Resources for dementia caregivers," 27 Apr. 2018 Pomeroy, which already operates licensed overnight respite programs elsewhere with staff on duty seven days a week, has begun the process of applying for new licensing at 2626 Fulton, Cohen said. Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle, "Troubled San Francisco charity selling off goods to fund new group home," 6 Mar. 2018 Children at area respite homes, including the Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore and Lifebridge Health’s Hackerman Patz’s house across from Sinai Hospital will receive the cards. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Adults, young people partner in Harford to make Valentine's Day cards for sick children," 14 Feb. 2018 For a time, the respite center staff wondered if the families would stop being released completely. Jessica Contrera, chicagotribune.com, "As border quiets, safe passage into the U.S. is still granted to some families," 25 June 2017 Having counseling and support services available to caregivers, as well as respite programs to temporarily relieve them of their responsibilities, could also help. Dhruv Khullar, New York Times, "Who Will Care for the Caregivers?," 19 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'respite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of respite

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1978, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for respite

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

Middle English respit, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin respectus, from Latin, act of looking back — more at respect

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about respite

Listen to Our Podcast about respite

Statistics for respite

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for respite

The first known use of respite was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for respite

respite

noun

English Language Learners Definition of respite

: a short period of time when you are able to stop doing something that is difficult or unpleasant or when something difficult or unpleasant stops or is delayed

respite

noun
res·​pite | \ ˈre-spət How to pronounce respite (audio) \

Kids Definition of respite

1 : a short delay
2 : a period of rest or relief Matthias was glad of the brief respite after all the excitement.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

respite

noun
res·​pite | \ ˈres-pət, ri-ˈspīt How to pronounce respite (audio) \

Legal Definition of respite

in the civil law of Louisiana : a judicially approved or enforced agreement that provides a debtor with time or a delay for the payment of creditors

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on respite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with respite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for respite

Spanish Central: Translation of respite

Nglish: Translation of respite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of respite for Arabic Speakers

Comments on respite

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!