[ ri-leev ]
See synonyms for: relieverelievedrelievesrelieving on

verb (used with object),re·lieved, re·liev·ing.
  1. to ease or alleviate (pain, distress, anxiety, need, etc.).

  2. to free from anxiety, fear, pain, etc.

  1. to free from need, poverty, etc.

  2. to bring effective aid to (a besieged town, military position, etc.).

  3. to ease (a person) of any burden, wrong, or oppression, as by legal means.

  4. to reduce (a pressure, load, weight, etc., on a device or object under stress): to relieve the steam pressure; to relieve the stress on the supporting walls.

  5. to make less tedious, unpleasant, or monotonous; break or vary the sameness of: curtains to relieve the drabness of the room.

  6. to bring into relief or prominence; heighten the effect of.

  7. to release (one on duty) by coming as or providing a substitute or replacement.

  8. Machinery.

    • to free (a closed space, as a tank, boiler, etc.) of more than a desirable pressure or vacuum.

    • to reduce (the pressure or vacuum in such a space) to a desirable level.

  9. Baseball. to replace (a pitcher).

verb (used without object),re·lieved, re·liev·ing.
  1. Baseball. to act as a relief pitcher: He relieved in 52 games for the Pirates last season.

Idioms about relieve

  1. to relieve oneself, to urinate or defecate.

Origin of relieve

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English releven from Middle French relever “to raise,” from Latin relevāre “to reduce the load of, lighten,” equivalent to re- “again, again and again”+ levāre “to raise,” derivative of levis “light in weight”; see re-

synonym study For relieve

1-3. See comfort.

Other words for relieve

Opposites for relieve

Other words from relieve

  • re·liev·a·ble, adjective
  • re·liev·ed·ly [ri-lee-vid-lee], /rɪˈli vɪd li/, adverb
  • non·re·liev·ing, adjective
  • qua·si-re·lieved, adjective
  • un·re·liev·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·lieved, adjective
  • un·re·liev·ed·ly, adverb
  • un·re·liev·ing, adjective

Words Nearby relieve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use relieve in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for relieve


/ (rɪˈliːv) /

  1. to bring alleviation of (pain, distress, etc) to (someone)

  2. to bring aid or assistance to (someone in need, a disaster area, etc)

  1. to take over the duties or watch of (someone)

  2. to bring aid or a relieving force to (a besieged town, city, etc)

  3. to free (someone) from an obligation

  4. to make (something) less unpleasant, arduous, or monotonous

  5. to bring into relief or prominence, as by contrast

  6. (foll by of) informal to take from: the thief relieved him of his watch

  7. relieve oneself to urinate or defecate

Origin of relieve

C14: from Old French relever, from Latin relevāre to lift up, relieve, from re- + levāre to lighten

Derived forms of relieve

  • relievable, adjective

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