Definition of respite
1 : a period of temporary delay
2 : an interval of rest or relief
respite was our Word of the Day on 09/11/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of respite in a sentence
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.
Did You Know?
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."
Origin and Etymology of respite
Middle English respit, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin respectus, from Latin, act of looking back — more at respect
First Known Use: 13th century
RESPITE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of respite for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of respite for Students
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
Legal Definition of respite
: a judicially approved or enforced agreement that provides a debtor with time or a delay for the payment of creditors
Seen and Heard
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