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

  • transitive v. To retire from; give up or abandon.
  • transitive v. To put aside or desist from (something practiced, professed, or intended).
  • transitive v. To let go; surrender.
  • transitive v. To cease holding physically; release: relinquish a grip.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To give up, abandon or retire from something.
  • v. To let go (free, away), physically release.
  • v. To metaphorically surrender, yield control or possession.
  • v. To accept to give up, withdraw etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To withdraw from; to leave behind; to desist from; to abandon; to quit.
  • transitive v. To give up; to renounce a claim to; resign.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give up the possession or occupancy of; withdraw from; leave; abandon; quit.
  • To cease from; give up the pursuit or practice of; desist from: as, to relinquish bad habits.
  • To renounce a claim to; resign:-as, to relinquish a debt.

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

  • v. release, as from one's grip
  • v. part with a possession or right
  • v. turn away from; give up
  • v. do without or cease to hold or adhere to


Middle English relinquisshen, from Old French relinquir, relinquiss-, from Latin relinquere : re-, re- + linquere, to leave.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English relinquisshen, from the inflected stem of Middle French relinquir, from Latin relinquere, itself, from re- + linquere ("to leave") (Wiktionary)


  • As the plane makes its final approach into Chicago, I think of the word relinquish.

    In the Fullness of Time

  • No circumstances of the Norman Conquest more forcibly illustrate the humiliation of the conquered people, than the measures by which the invaders imposed their language on the public courts of the country, and endeavored to make it permanently usurp the place of the mother-tongue of the despised multitude; and no fact more signally displays our conservative temper than the general reluctance of English society to relinquish the use of the French words and phrases which still tincture the language of parliament, and the procedures of Westminster Hall, recalling to our minds the insolent domination of a few powerful families who occupied our country by force, and ruled our forefathers with vigorous injustice.

    A Book About Lawyers

  • China has no claim to Taiwan, so it is not being asked to "relinquish" anything, nor is what is happening "reunification."

    Archive 2006-03-01

  • But following the Prakash Singh Badal and Karunanidhi model where aging leaders are preparing to "relinquish" power to their sons, a Rahul Gandhi coronation in the middle of UPA government's next term seems likely.


  • The term "relinquish" has negative connotations: it means giving up something that may not have been properly yours.

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • But Morrisons said he would instead "relinquish" CEO duties today.

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • "relinquish" here is an improvement on modern translations; note how this verse implicitly links atheism and homosexuality and other promiscuity

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • 'relinquish' in terms of 'irrational beliefs' which people hold due to intuition or because of the positive influence on their lives?

    TDG - Science, Magick, Myth and History

  • It is certainly arguable that having created a culture of freedom out of slavery, segregation, and compulsory labor, when citizenship appeared attainable in the post–World War II period, the black working class demonstrated an unwillingness to relinquish the pleasures of that culture in exchange for their rights.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • Whereas “the black man” in his current condition was “not fit for self,” the “new black man” would relinquish his desires for “the good life” in service of the nation.

    A Renegade History of the United States


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  • All our patients die eventually. They should do six things for their 'Death Work': ... (4) relinquish independence.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 23, 2008