[ res-pit ]
/ ˈrɛs pɪt /


a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief: to toil without respite.
temporary suspension of the execution of a person condemned to death; reprieve.

verb (used with object), res·pit·ed, res·pit·ing.

to relieve temporarily, especially from anything distressing or trying; give an interval of relief from.
to grant delay in the carrying out of (a punishment, obligation, etc.).

Nearby words

  1. respiratory system,
  2. respiratory tract,
  3. respire,
  4. respirometer,
  5. respirometry,
  6. respite care,
  7. resplendence,
  8. resplendent,
  9. resplendent quetzal,
  10. resplendently

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for respite

British Dictionary definitions for respite


/ (ˈrɛspɪt, -paɪt) /


a pause from exertion; interval of rest
a temporary delay
a temporary stay of execution; reprieve


(tr) to grant a respite to; reprieve
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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper