verb (used with object), re·lieved, re·liev·ing.
- 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.
verb (used without object), re·lieved, re·liev·ing.
Origin of relieve
Synonyms for relieve
Antonyms for relieve
Word Origin for relieve
late 14c., "alleviate (pain, etc.), mitigate; afford comfort; allow respite; diminish the pressure of," also "give alms to, provide for;" also figuratively, "take heart, cheer up;" from Old French relever "to raise, relieve" (11c.) and directly from Latin relevare "to raise, alleviate, lift up, free from a burden," from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + levare "to lift up, lighten," from levis "not heavy" (see lever).
The notion is "to raise (someone) out of trouble." From c.1400 as "advance to the rescue in battle;" also "return from battle; recall (troops)." Meaning "release from duty" is from early 15c. Related: relieved; relieving.
Urinate or defecate, as in The puppy relieved itself in the middle of the floor. The use of relieve for these bodily functions dates from the mid-1800s.