- to ease or alleviate (pain, distress, anxiety, need, etc.).
- to free from anxiety, fear, pain, etc.
- to free from need, poverty, etc.
- to bring effective aid to (a besieged town, military position, etc.).
- to ease (a person) of any burden, wrong, or oppression, as by legal means.
- 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.
- to make less tedious, unpleasant, or monotonous; break or vary the sameness of: curtains to relieve the drabness of the room.
- to bring into relief or prominence; heighten the effect of.
- to release (one on duty) by coming as or providing a substitute or replacement.
- 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.
- Baseball. to replace (a pitcher).
- Baseball. to act as a relief pitcher: He relieved in 52 games for the Pirates last season.
- to relieve oneself, to urinate or defecate.
Origin of relieve
SynonymsSee more synonyms for relieve on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for relieving
Instead of lessons about the dangerous, addictive, and deadly qualities of prescription opioids, he got lessons on relieving pain.America’s Oxy-Express Route to Heroin Addiction
May 15, 2014
By relieving McElhone of the brash movie ending she is able to maintain her grasp on a flawed but still complex character.Return of the Bunny Boiler: Fatal Attraction’s World Stage Premiere
March 26, 2014
Sure revealing that you secretly like to paint might be relieving, but what next?Ashton Kutcher Is Investing in the Anonymous Confessional App Secret
March 14, 2014
Exit might give them a nice export boost, relieving some of the crippling unemployment currently afflicting Italian workers.Euro Crisis: Reheated
February 27, 2013
They made several trips to the bathroom,” he says, indicating “they were possibly doing more than just relieving themselves.U.S. Marines Accused of Injuring Brazilian Stripper
May 1, 2012
It was relieving to hurry across the dripping grass toward the barn.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
Is he not the presiding genius of the company for relieving the Poles?The Macdermots of Ballycloran
Why had Plowden, by the way, been so keen about relieving her from her father's importunities?The Market-Place
Soon after relieving Buford, we saw some Rebel infantry advancing.Three Years in the Federal Cavalry
What you planning to do, Joe, between now and relieving me at midnight?
- to bring alleviation of (pain, distress, etc) to (someone)
- to bring aid or assistance to (someone in need, a disaster area, etc)
- to take over the duties or watch of (someone)
- to bring aid or a relieving force to (a besieged town, city, etc)
- to free (someone) from an obligation
- to make (something) less unpleasant, arduous, or monotonous
- to bring into relief or prominence, as by contrast
- (foll by of) informal to take fromthe thief relieved him of his watch
- relieve oneself to urinate or defecate
Word Origin and History for relieving
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.
- To cause a lessening or alleviation of something, such as pain, tension, or a symptom.
- To free an individual from pain, anxiety, or distress.