verb (used with object), re·lieved, re·liev·ing.
- to ease or alleviate (pain, distress, anxiety, need, etc.).
- to free from anxiety, fear, pain, etc.
- to free from need, poverty, etc.
- to bring effective aid to (a besieged town, military position, etc.).
- to ease (a person) of any burden, wrong, or oppression, as by legal means.
- to reduce (a pressure, load, weight, etc., on a device or object under stress): to relieve the steam pressure; to relieve the stress on the supporting walls.
- to make less tedious, unpleasant, or monotonous; break or vary the sameness of: curtains to relieve the drabness of the room.
- to bring into relief or prominence; heighten the effect of.
- to release (one on duty) by coming as or providing a substitute or replacement.
- to free (a closed space, as a tank, boiler, etc.) of more than a desirable pressure or vacuum.
- to reduce (the pressure or vacuum in such a space) to a desirable level.
- Baseball. to replace (a pitcher).
verb (used without object), re·lieved, re·liev·ing.
- Baseball. to act as a relief pitcher: He relieved in 52 games for the Pirates last season.
- to relieve oneself, to urinate or defecate.
- (postpositive; often foll by at, about, etc) experiencing relief, esp from worry or anxiety
- mechanical engineering having part of the surface cut away to avoid friction or wear
- to bring alleviation of (pain, distress, etc) to (someone)
- to bring aid or assistance to (someone in need, a disaster area, etc)
- to take over the duties or watch of (someone)
- to bring aid or a relieving force to (a besieged town, city, etc)
- to free (someone) from an obligation
- to make (something) less unpleasant, arduous, or monotonous
- to bring into relief or prominence, as by contrast
- (foll by of) informal to take fromthe thief relieved him of his watch
- relieve oneself to urinate or defecate
late 14c., “alleviate (pain, etc.), mitigate; afford comfort; allow respite; diminish the pressure of,” also “give alms to, provide for;” also figuratively, “take heart, cheer up;” from Old French relever “to raise, relieve” (11c.) and directly from Latin relevare “to raise, alleviate, lift up, free from a burden,” from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + levare “to lift up, lighten,” from levis “not heavy” (see lever).
The notion is “to raise (someone) out of trouble.” From c.1400 as “advance to the rescue in battle;” also “return from battle; recall (troops).” Meaning “release from duty” is from early 15c. Related: relieved; relieving.
- To cause a lessening or alleviation of something, such as pain, tension, or a symptom.
- To free an individual from pain, anxiety, or distress.