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See more synonyms for respite on Thesaurus.com
  1. a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief: to toil without respite.
  2. temporary suspension of the execution of a person condemned to death; reprieve.
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verb (used with object), res·pit·ed, res·pit·ing.
  1. to relieve temporarily, especially from anything distressing or trying; give an interval of relief from.
  2. to grant delay in the carrying out of (a punishment, obligation, etc.).
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Origin of respite

1200–50; (noun) Middle English respit < Old French < Latin respectus (see respect); (v.) Middle English respiten < Old French respitier < Latin respectāre, frequentative of respicere to look back; see respect
Related formsun·res·pit·ed, adjective

Synonyms for respite

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

Related Words for respite

reprieve, interruption, layoff, letup, downtime, hiatus, breather, recess, relief, relaxation, truce, lull, pardon, deferment, rest, deliverance, exculpation, delay, ease, breath

Examples from the Web for respite

Contemporary Examples of respite

Historical Examples of respite

  • He had got a reprieve, or a respite, and he felt like a boy--another kind of boy from what he had ever been.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

  • And what passion can be durable which is so violent as hers, and to which no respite is allowed?

  • Somebody played something on the piano, and this was, in a way, a respite for John.

  • For them, there were no “weak, piping times of peace,”––no respite from danger.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare

    Alexander Scott Withers

  • The priest thanked God for the respite He had been pleased to vouchsafe to him.

British Dictionary definitions for respite


  1. a pause from exertion; interval of rest
  2. a temporary delay
  3. a temporary stay of execution; reprieve
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  1. (tr) to grant a respite to; reprieve
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Derived Formsrespiteless, adjective

Word Origin for respite

C13: from Old French respit, from Latin respectus a looking back; see respect
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 respite


mid-13c., from Old French respit "delay, respect" (Modern French répit), from Latin respectus "consideration, recourse, regard" (see respect (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper