verb (used with object), re·lieved, re·liev·ing.

  1. to ease or alleviate (pain, distress, anxiety, need, etc.).
  2. to free from anxiety, fear, pain, etc.
  3. to free from need, poverty, etc.
  4. to bring effective aid to (a besieged town, military position, etc.).
  5. to ease (a person) of any burden, wrong, or oppression, as by legal means.
  6. 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.
  7. to make less tedious, unpleasant, or monotonous; break or vary the sameness of: curtains to relieve the drabness of the room.
  8. to bring into relief or prominence; heighten the effect of.
  9. to release (one on duty) by coming as or providing a substitute or replacement.
  10. Machinery.
    1. to free (a closed space, as a tank, boiler, etc.) of more than a desirable pressure or vacuum.
    2. to reduce (the pressure or vacuum in such a space) to a desirable level.
  11. Baseball. to replace (a pitcher).

verb (used without object), re·lieved, re·liev·ing.

  1. Baseball. to act as a relief pitcher: He relieved in 52 games for the Pirates last season.


  1. to relieve oneself, to urinate or defecate.

verb (tr)

  1. to bring alleviation of (pain, distress, etc) to (someone)
  2. to bring aid or assistance to (someone in need, a disaster area, etc)
  3. to take over the duties or watch of (someone)
  4. to bring aid or a relieving force to (a besieged town, city, etc)
  5. to free (someone) from an obligation
  6. to make (something) less unpleasant, arduous, or monotonous
  7. to bring into relief or prominence, as by contrast
  8. (foll by of) informal to take fromthe thief relieved him of his watch
  9. relieve oneself to urinate or defecate

v.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. v.

  1. To cause a lessening or alleviation of something, such as pain, tension, or a symptom.
  2. To free an individual from pain, anxiety, or distress.
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