[ noun ree-ley; verb ree-ley, ri-ley ]
/ noun ˈri leɪ; verb ˈri leɪ, rɪˈleɪ /


verb (used with object), re·layed, re·lay·ing.

verb (used without object), re·layed, re·lay·ing.

Electricity. to retransmit a signal or message electronically.

Origin of relay

1375–1425; (v.) late Middle English relaien to unleash fresh hounds in a hunt < Middle French relaier, Old French: to leave behind, release, equivalent to re- re- + laier to leave, dialectal variant of laissier < Latin laxāre (see relax); (noun) late Middle English relai set of fresh hounds < Middle French, derivative of relaier

Definition for relay (2 of 3)


[ ree-ley ]
/ riˈleɪ /

verb (used with object), re·laid, re·lay·ing.

Definition for relay (3 of 3)


or re·lay

[ ree-ley ]
/ riˈleɪ /

verb (used with object), re-laid, re-lay·ing.

to lay again.

Origin of re-lay

First recorded in 1580–90; re- + lay1

Can be confused

re-lay relay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for relay

British Dictionary definitions for relay


noun (ˈriːleɪ)

verb (rɪˈleɪ) (tr)

Word Origin for relay

C15 relaien, from Old French relaier to leave behind, from re- + laier to leave, ultimately from Latin laxāre to loosen; see relax
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Science definitions for relay


[ rēlā ]

An electrical switch that is operated by an electromagnet, such as a solenoid. When a small current passes through the electromagnet's coiled wire, it produces a magnetic field that attracts a movable iron bar, causing it to pivot and open or close the switch.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.