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verb (used with object)
  1. to renounce or surrender (a possession, right, etc.): to relinquish the throne.
  2. to give up; put aside or desist from: to relinquish a plan.
  3. to let go; release: to relinquish one's hold.
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Origin of relinquish

1425–75; late Middle English relinquissen, relinquisshen < Middle French relinquiss-, long stem of relinquirLatin relinquere to leave behind, equivalent to re- re- + linquere to leave (akin to lend)
Related formsre·lin·quish·er, nounre·lin·quish·ment, nounnon·re·lin·quish·ment, nounun·re·lin·quished, adjectiveun·re·lin·quish·ing, adjective

Synonyms for relinquish

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for relinquish

cede, abdicate, renounce, waive, quit, yield, abandon, forgo, withdraw, vacate, surrender, forbear, shed, abnegate, dump, repudiate, sacrifice, drop, resign, leave

Examples from the Web for relinquish

Contemporary Examples of relinquish

Historical Examples of relinquish

  • But not for that did aunt Ann relinquish her quest for the betterment of the domestic world.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The term of your imprisonment ceases when you relinquish the hope of Beatriz.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Casanova promptly moved as if to relinquish his seat in the carriage.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • Rather than relinquish her, however, he would have set Rome on fire.

  • I determined to relinquish every advantage to Grushnitski; I wanted to test him.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

British Dictionary definitions for relinquish


verb (tr)
  1. to give up (a task, struggle, etc); abandon
  2. to surrender or renounce (a claim, right, etc)
  3. to release; let go
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Derived Formsrelinquisher, nounrelinquishment, noun

Word Origin for relinquish

C15: from French relinquir, from Latin relinquere to leave behind, from re- + linquere to leave
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

Word Origin and History for relinquish


mid-15c., "desert, abandon;" late 15c., "give up, desist," from Old French relinquiss-, present participle stem of relinquir (12c.), from Latin relinquere "leave behind, forsake, abandon, give up," from re- "back" (see re-) + linquere "to leave," from PIE *linkw-, from root *leikw- "to leave behind" (cf. Sanskrit reknas "inheritance, wealth," rinakti "leaves;" Greek leipein "to leave;" Gothic leihvan, Old English lænan "to lend;" Old High German lihan "to borrow;" Old Norse lan "loan"). Related: Relinquished; relinquishing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper