from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To set free from confinement or bondage.
  • transitive verb To set free from physical restraint or binding; let go.
  • transitive verb To cause or allow to move away or spread from a source or place of confinement.
  • transitive verb To make available for use.
  • transitive verb To set free from obligations, commitments, or debt.
  • transitive verb To relieve of care or suffering.
  • transitive verb To issue for performance, sale, publication, or distribution.
  • transitive verb To make known or available.
  • transitive verb Law To surrender (a right, claim, or title).
  • noun Deliverance or liberation, as from confinement.
  • noun Discharge from an obligation or commitment.
  • noun Relief from suffering or care.
  • noun An unfastening or letting go, as of something caught or held fast.
  • noun Sports The action of throwing a ball or propelling a puck.
  • noun Linguistics The movement of a vocal organ or organs so as to end the closure of a stop consonant.
  • noun A device or catch for locking or releasing a mechanism.
  • noun The act or an instance of issuing something for publication, use, or distribution.
  • noun Something thus issued.
  • noun The condition of being available, in use, or in publication.
  • noun The surrender of a right, title, or claim, especially to one against whom the right, title, or claim would be enforced or exercised.
  • noun The document attesting to such surrender.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To lease again or anew.
  • noun See combination button.
  • To let loose; set free from restraint or confmement; liberate, as from prison, confinement, or servitude.
  • To free from pain, care, trouble, grief, or any other evil.
  • To free from obligation or penalty: as, to release one from debt, or from a promise or covenant.
  • To forgive.
  • To quit; let go, as a legal claim; remit; surrender or relinquish: as, to release a debt, or to release a right to lands or tenements by conveying to another already having some right or estate in possession.
  • To relax.
  • To let slip; let go; give up.
  • To take out of pawn. Nabbes, The Bride (4 to, 1640), sig. F. iv.
  • noun Liberation or discharge from restraint of any kind, as from confinement or bondage.
  • noun Liberation from care, pain, or any burden.
  • noun Discharge from obligation or responsibility, as from debt, tax, penalty, or claim of any kind; acquittance.
  • noun In law, a surrender of a right; a remission of a claim in such form as to estop the grantor from asserting it. again.
  • noun In a steam-engine, the opening of the exhaust-port before the stroke is finished, to lessen the back-pressure.
  • noun In archery, the act of letting go the bowstring in shooting; the mode of performing this act, which differs among different peoples.
  • noun =Syn. 1–3. Deliverance, excuse, exemption, exoneration, absolution, clearance. See the verb.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To lease again; to grant a new lease of; to let back.
  • transitive verb To let loose again; to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude; to give liberty to, or to set at liberty; to let go.
  • transitive verb To relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses, as from pain, trouble, obligation, penalty.
  • transitive verb (Law) To let go, as a legal claim; to discharge or relinquish a right to, as lands or tenements, by conveying to another who has some right or estate in possession, as when the person in remainder releases his right to the tenant in possession; to quit.
  • transitive verb obsolete To loosen; to relax; to remove the obligation of.


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

[Middle English relesen, from Old French relaissier, alteration of relacher, from Latin relaxāre; see relax.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French relaisser (variant of relascher).


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  • However, if you wish, I hereby proclaim that Debian shall release woody before

    December 31, 2099, or when it is ready, whichever comes first. (Manoj Srivastava)

    December 12, 2006

  • Contronymic in the sense: set free vs. lock in (as a new lease).

    January 27, 2007