- a distinct or abrupt change in mood, scene, action, etc., resulting in a reduction of intensity, as in a play or novel.
- comic relief.
Origin of relief1
Synonyms for relief
Antonyms for relief
- help or assistance, as to the poor, needy, or distressed
- (as modifier)relief work
- the act of freeing a beleaguered town, fortress, etcthe relief of Mafeking
- (as modifier)a relief column
- the projection of forms or figures from a flat ground, so that they are partly or wholly free of it
- a piece of work of this kind
Word Origin for relief
late 14c., "alleviation of distress, hunger, sickness, etc; state of being relieved; that which mitigates or removes" (pain, grief, evil, etc.)," from Anglo-French relif, from Old French relief "assistance," literally "a raising, that which is lifted," from stressed stem of relever (see relieve). Meaning "aid to impoverished persons" is attested from c.1400; that of "deliverance of a besieged town" is from c.1400. Earlier in English as "that which is left over or left behind," also "feudal payment to an overlord made by an heir upon taking possession of an estate" (both c.1200).
"projection of figure or design from a flat surface," c.1600, from French relief, from Italian rilievo, from rilevare "to raise," from Latin relevare "to raise, lighten" (see relieve).
Also, on welfare; on the dole. Receiving public financial assistance, as in Half the people in this town are on relief, or Don hated the idea of going on welfare. The first two terms originated in the United States in the 1930s, when government assistance of this kind was first instituted. On the dole, used mainly in Britain but occasionally in America, dates from the 1920s, although the use of dole for a charitable gift dates from about 1200.