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verb (used without object), re·lied, re·ly·ing.
  1. to depend confidently; put trust in (usually followed by on or upon): You can rely on her work.
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Origin of rely

1300–50; Middle English relien < Middle French relier < Latin religāre to bind fast, hold firmly. See re-, ligament
Related formsmis·re·ly, verb (used without object), mis·re·lied, mis·re·ly·ing.


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

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Examples from the Web for relying

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Thus, she remained immutable, superior to fatigue, and ever relying on a prodigy.


    Emile Zola

  • "We are relying on you to help us, Mrs. Wilcox," said the young doctor.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • The girl, relying more on her own eloquence than on that of Orso, began to speak.

    Sielanka: An Idyll

    Henryk Sienkiewicz

  • Apes are not alone in relying on the experience of one of their members.

  • I disdain them, relying on my knowledge that I am in the right.

British Dictionary definitions for relying


verb -lies, -lying or -lied (intr ; foll by on or upon)
  1. to be dependent (on)he relies on his charm
  2. to have trust or confidence (in)you can rely on us
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French relier to fasten together, repair, from Latin religāre to tie back, from re- + ligāre to tie
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 relying



early 14c., "to gather, assemble" (transitive and intransitive), from Old French relier "assemble, put together; fasten, attach, rally, oblige," from Latin religare "fasten, bind fast," from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + ligare "to bind" (see ligament). Sense of "depend, trust" is from 1570s, perhaps via notion of "rally to, fall back on." Typically used with on, perhaps by influence of lie (v.2). Related: Relied; relying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper