1 : a period of temporary delay
2 : an interval of rest or relief
Did You Know?
Respite is first known to have been used at the turn of the 14th century to refer to 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 (also the source of English's respect), which comes from respicere, a verb with both concrete and abstract meanings: "to turn around to look at" or "to regard." Within a few decades of its earliest known use, English speakers had granted respite the sense we use most often today—"a welcome break."
The station's meteorologist had predicted that the bad weather would continue throughout the week without respite.
"Such small, shady public spaces provide a welcome respite from busy street life and enhance the livability of the city." — David Ross Scheer, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sept. 2019
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
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