Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To set free, as from danger or imprisonment; save. See Synonyms at save1.
  • transitive v. Law To take from legal custody by force.
  • n. An act of rescuing; a deliverance.
  • n. Law Removal from legal custody by force.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To save from any violence, danger or evil.
  • v. To free or liberate from confinement or other physical restraint.
  • v. To recover forcibly
  • v. To deliver by arms, notably from a siege
  • v. To remove or withdraw from a state of exposure to evil and sin.
  • n. An act or episode of rescuing, saving.
  • n. A liberation, freeing.
  • n. The forcible ending of a siege; liberation from similar military peril
  • n. A special airliner flight to bring home passengers who are stranded
  • n. A rescuee.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of rescuing; deliverance from restraint, violence, or danger; liberation.
  • n.
  • n. The forcible retaking, or taking away, against law, of things lawfully distrained.
  • n. The forcible liberation of a person from an arrest or imprisonment.
  • n. The retaking by a party captured of a prize made by the enemy.
  • transitive v. To free or deliver from any confinement, violence, danger, or evil; to liberate from actual restraint; to remove or withdraw from a state of exposure to evil

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To free or deliver from any confinement, violence, danger, or evil; liberate from actual restraint; remove or withdraw from a state of exposure to evil: as, to rescue seamen from destruction by shipwreck.
  • In law, to liberate or take by forcible or illegal means from lawful custody: as, to rescue a prisoner from a constable.
  • To go to the rescue.
  • n. The act of rescuing; deliverance from restraint, violence, danger, or any evil.
  • n. In law, the forcible or illegal taking of a person or thing out of the custody of the law.
  • n. Synonyms Release, liberation, extrication, redemption.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. free from harm or evil
  • v. take forcibly from legal custody
  • n. recovery or preservation from loss or danger

Etymologies

Middle English rescouen, from Old French rescourre : re-, re- + escourre, to shake (from Latin excutere : ex-, ex- + quatere, to shake; see kwēt- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English rescopuen, from Old French rescourre, rescurre, rescorre; from Latin prefix re- ("re-") + excutere ("to shake or drive out"), from ex ("out") + quatere ("to shake"). (Wiktionary)

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