View synonyms for release


[ ri-lees ]

verb (used with object)

, re·leased, re·leas·ing.
  1. to free from confinement, bondage, obligation, pain, etc.; let go:

    to release a prisoner; to release someone from a debt.

    Synonyms: deliver, loose

    Antonyms: bind

  2. to free from anything that restrains, fastens, etc.:

    to release a catapult.

    Synonyms: disengage, extricate, loose

    Antonyms: fasten

  3. to allow to be known, issued, done, or exhibited:

    to release an article for publication.

    Synonyms: publish, announce

  4. Law. to give up, relinquish, or surrender (a right, claim, etc.).


  1. a freeing or releasing from confinement, obligation, pain, emotional strain, etc.

    Synonyms: emancipation, deliverance, liberation

  2. liberation from anything that restrains or fastens.
  3. some device or agency for effecting such liberation.
  4. a grant of permission, as to publish, use, or sell something.
  5. the releasing of something for publication, performance, use, exhibition, or sale.
  6. the film, book, record, etc., that is released.
  7. Law.
    1. the surrender of a right or the like to another.
    2. a document embodying such a surrender.
  8. Law Obsolete. a remission, as of a debt, tax, or tribute.
  9. Machinery.
    1. a control mechanism for starting or stopping a machine, especially by removing some restrictive apparatus.
    2. the opening of an exhaust port or valve at or near the working stroke of an engine so that the working fluid can be exhausted on the return stroke.
    3. the point in the stroke of an engine at which the exhaust port or valve is opened.
  10. (in jazz or popular music) a bridge.


/ rɪˈliːs /


  1. to free (a person, animal, etc) from captivity or imprisonment
  2. to free (someone) from obligation or duty
  3. to free (something) from (one's grip); let go or fall
  4. to issue (a record, film, book, etc) for sale or circulation
  5. to make (news or information) known or allow (news or information) to be made known

    to release details of an agreement

  6. law to relinquish (a right, claim, title, etc) in favour of someone else
  7. ethology to evoke (a response) through the presentation of a stimulus that produces the response innately


  1. the act of freeing or state of being freed, as from captivity, imprisonment, duty, pain, life, etc
  2. the act of issuing for sale or publication
  3. something issued for sale or public showing, esp a film or a record

    a new release from Bob Dylan

  4. a news item, document, etc, made available for publication, broadcasting, etc
  5. law the surrender of a claim, right, title, etc, in favour of someone else
  6. a control mechanism for starting or stopping an engine
    1. the opening of the exhaust valve of a steam engine near the end of the piston stroke
    2. the moment at which this valve opens
  7. the electronic control regulating how long a note sounds after a synthesizer key has been released
  8. the control mechanism for the shutter in a camera

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Derived Forms

  • reˈleaser, noun

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Other Words From

  • re·leasa·bili·ty noun
  • re·leasa·ble re·leasi·ble adjective
  • nonre·lease noun
  • unre·leasa·ble adjective
  • unre·leasi·ble adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of release1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English verb reles(s)en, relecen, from Old French relesser, relaissier, releiss(i)er, from Latin relaxāre “to loosen, stretch out”; Middle English noun reles(s)e, releise, from Old French reles, relais, releis, back formation from relesser, relaisser, releiss(i)er; lax, relax

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Word History and Origins

Origin of release1

C13: from Old French relesser , from Latin relaxāre to slacken; see relax

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Synonym Study

Release, free, dismiss, discharge, liberate, emancipate may all mean to set at liberty, let loose, or let go. Release and free, when applied to persons, suggest a helpful action. Both may be used (not always interchangeably) of delivering a person from confinement or obligation: to free or release prisoners. Free (less often, release ) is also used for delivering a person from pain, sorrow, etc.: to free from fear. Dismiss, meaning to send away, usually has the meaning of forcing to go unwillingly ( to dismiss a servant ), but may refer to giving permission to go: The teacher dismissed the class early. Discharge, meaning originally to relieve of a burden ( to discharge a gun ), has come to refer to that which is sent away, and is often a close synonym to dismiss; it is used in the meaning permit to go in connection with courts and the armed forces: The court discharged a man accused of robbery. Liberate and emancipate, more formal synonyms for release and free, also suggest action intended to be helpful. Liberate suggests particularly the release from unjust punishment, oppression, and the like, and often means to set free through forcible action or military campaign: They liberated the prisoners, the occupied territories, etc. Emancipate also suggests a release of some size and consequence, but one that is less overt, a more formal or legal freedom; and it sometimes connotes an inner liberation: Lincoln emancipated enslaved African Americans. John emancipated himself.

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Example Sentences

After being told of Cline’s past, and recent release from prison, a Montgomery County detective drove to the apartment building where Cline lived.

The organization joined with two others, CommunicationFIRST and Autistic Self Advocacy Network, to issue a news release on the day Sia agreed to remove the scenes from the film.

Unlike more than two dozen other states, Maryland bars the release of such records — another way in which advocates say police are shielded from accountability.

Oakland Airport said in a news release that it is the first airport in the country to get testing vending machines.

His debut album, Right Now, is one of the most impressive releases I’ve added to my collection and you should do the same.

Rashad was there to celebrate the release of the Civil Rights drama Selma.

The United States government might not release that information for years, if ever.

On his eighth try, more than three decades after he went in, the parole board finally voted to release Sam.

The “nature of the crime” was too serious to release him, they said.

And so, he says he left prison without proper ID, just his release papers and the “dress-out gear” he was given by the state.

He has secured the release of certain Spanish prisoners, and is building two ships.

He had no rest until the seals were fixed to parchment, and the warrant of his release appeared in public print.

The strenuous efforts made by the Spaniards to secure their release are fully referred to in Chap.

The whole party was captured by the insurgents, who were afterwards ordered to release them all.

Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would.


Related Words

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More About Release

What is a basic definition of release?

Release means to free from imprisonment or confinement, to free from anything that is acting as a constraint, or to allow something to be out in the open. The word release has many other senses as a verb and a noun.

When a person is released, they are freed from their captivity or anything else that was hindering their freedom. This sense of release is an antonym of words like imprison, detain, or confine.

  • Real-life examples: A person is released from prison once they complete their sentence. For the most part, a person is released from debt if they declare bankruptcy. Parents often force children to release wild animals back to wherever they came from.
  • Used in a sentence: Whenever I go fishing, I always release the fish back into the water after catching them. 

Release is also used in this same sense as a noun.

  • Used in a sentence: The king paid for the release of his son from the enemy. 

Release is also used figuratively to mean to free anything from any kind of restraint.

  • Used in a sentence: I released the rope and let it fall down into the hole.  

Release can also mean to allow something to be freely distributed or sold to the public.

  • Real-life examples: Authors release new books. Musicians release new albums. The government sometimes releases information to the press. Researchers release the results of tests or studies to the public.
  • Used in a sentence: Stephen King just released a new book that I really want to read.

Release is used in this same sense as a noun.

  • Used in a sentence: People lined up to buy Beyoncé’s newest release. 

Where does release come from?

The first records of release come from the early 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb relaxāre, meaning “to loosen, stretch out.” The English word relax shares this origin.

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What are some other forms related to release?

  • releaser (noun)
  • releasability (noun)
  • releasable (adjective)
  • nonrelease (noun)
  • unreleasable (adjective)

What are some synonyms for release?

What are some words that share a root or word element with release

What are some words that often get used in discussing release?

What are some words release may be commonly confused with?

How is release used in real life?


Release is a common word that most often means to free something or to make something available to the public.

Try using release!

True or False?

If a prisoner is released from jail, it means they aren’t locked up anymore and are free to leave.




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