relief

1 of 2

noun

re·​lief ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio)
1
: a payment made by a male feudal tenant to his lord on succeeding to an inherited estate
2
a
: removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing
c
: military assistance to an endangered post or force
d
: means of breaking or avoiding monotony or boredom : diversion
3
: release from a post or from the performance of duty
4
: one that takes the place of another on duty
5
: legal remedy or redress
6
[French, from Middle French, from Italian rilievo relievo]
a
: a mode of sculpture in which forms and figures are distinguished from a surrounding plane surface
b
: sculpture or a sculptural form executed in this mode
c
: projecting detail, ornament, or figures
7
a
: sharpness of outline due to contrast
a roof in bold relief against the sky
b
: the state of being distinguished by contrast
throws the two opinions into bold relief
8
: the elevations or inequalities of a land surface
9
: the pitching done by a relief pitcher
two innings of hitless relief

Illustration of relief

Illustration of relief
  • relief 6b

relief

2 of 2

adjective

1
: providing relief
2
: characterized by surface inequalities
3
: of or used in letterpress

Example Sentences

Noun I felt such a sense of relief after I finished my thesis. He expressed relief that the crisis was finally over. Much to everyone's relief, the airplane took off without any problems. What a relief it is to be back home. Exercise is an excellent source of stress relief. Both candidates promised tax relief for middle-class families. Countries from around the world have been sending relief to the flood victims. We donated to the relief effort for the hurricane victims. My father lost his job and we had to go on relief. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Guerra, who recently turned 27, is a converted shortstop who has made just 44 relief appearances in the majors since 2019. Todd Rosiak, Journal Sentinel, 19 Nov. 2022 The administration is hoping the high court will block the previous orders so that the relief plan can move forward while legal challenges play out, per AP. Theara Coleman, The Week, 18 Nov. 2022 On Monday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest to block the Biden administration's debt relief program. Robert Legare, CBS News, 17 Nov. 2022 Those judges ruled that Missouri had enough standing to prevent the student debt relief program from going forward until the case was decided. ABC News, 15 Nov. 2022 The wider debt relief plan is kind of locked up in courts right now. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 Kevin Herget, who made three relief appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, signed a minor league deal with the Reds on Thursday, according to the league's transactions log. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 14 Nov. 2022 The judges, all appointed by Republican presidents, say that the state of Missouri has standing to challenge Biden’s debt relief program because of the revenue that could be lost by MOHELA, a federal student loan servicer. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 14 Nov. 2022 The 32-year old picked up this production in his first trip to the playoffs as a big leaguer, posting a 1-0 record with four holds, a 1.93 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10 relief appearances. Josh Criswell, Chron, 12 Nov. 2022
Adjective
The anti-relief faction, with its sudden warnings about deficits, is eager to revive the Tea Party spirit, and its would-be leaders are ur-Tea Partyers like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Ross Douthat New York Times, Star Tribune, 4 Aug. 2020 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English relef, relief, from Anglo-French, from relever to relieve

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of relief was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near relief

Cite this Entry

“Relief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relief. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

relief

noun

re·​lief
ri-ˈlēf
1
a
: removal or lightening of something painful, troubling, burdensome, or dangerous
c
: military assistance to a post or force in extreme danger
d
: a means of breaking boredom : diversion
a quick swim was a welcome relief from the job
2
: release from duty
3
: one that takes the place of another on duty
4
: the legal correction of a wrong
5
a
: elevation of figures or designs from the background (as in sculpture)
b
: a work of art with such raised figures
c
: projecting detail or figures in sculpture
6
: sharpness of outline
a roof in bold relief against the sky
7
: the elevations of a land surface
a map showing relief

Medical Definition

relief

noun

re·​lief ri-ˈlēf How to pronounce relief (audio)
: removal or lightening of something oppressive or distressing
relief of pain
symptomatic relief

Legal Definition

relief

noun

re·​lief
: redress, assistance, or protection given by law especially from a court
should state what relief the plaintiff seeks
: as
a
: release from obligation or duty
relief from judgment
b
: an order from a court granting a particular remedy (as return of property)
injunctive relief
declaratory relief
see also remedy

More from Merriam-Webster on relief

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