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[ri-leev] /rɪˈliv/
verb (used with object), relieved, relieving.
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.
  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.
Baseball. to replace (a pitcher).
verb (used without object), relieved, relieving.
Baseball. to act as a relief pitcher:
He relieved in 52 games for the Pirates last season.
to relieve oneself, to urinate or defecate.
Origin of relieve
1300-50; Middle English releven < Middle French relever to raise < Latin relevāre to reduce the load of, lighten, equivalent to re- re- + levāre to raise, derivative of levis light in weight
Related forms
relievable, adjective
[ri-lee-vid-lee] /rɪˈli vɪd li/ (Show IPA),
nonrelieving, adjective
quasi-relieved, adjective
unrelievable, adjective
unrelieved, adjective
unrelievedly, adverb
unrelieving, adjective
1. mitigate, assuage, allay, lighten, lessen, abate, diminish. See comfort. 1-4. aid, help, assist. 3. support, sustain. 4. succor.
1. intensify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for relieved
  • If those currently responsible for maintaining it cannot work together they must be relieved of this responsibility.
  • By this time, they had been relieved of almost all their possessions: books, clothes and money.
  • relieved at the change of mood, the audience applauded.
  • When at last the tag was secure, the technician was so relieved he smooched the animal's broad back.
  • Their fiery halos relieved the green monotone that by late summer ruled the garden.
  • The professor in question is clearly responsible for his actions, and should be relieved of his teaching duties.
  • Freedman presents some compelling anecdotes about patients whose pain was relieved by alternative medicine.
  • Some volunteers would undoubtedly drop out, relieved to let someone else provide their loved one's new kidney.
  • Amazingly, the bogus injection relieved the soldier's agony and prevented the onset of shock.
  • My hosts relax in their chairs, looking immensely relieved.
British Dictionary definitions for relieved


(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


verb (transitive)
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 from: the thief relieved him of his watch
relieve oneself, to urinate or defecate
Derived Forms
relievable, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French relever, from Latin relevāre to lift up, relieve, from re- + levāre to lighten
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for relieved



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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relieved in Medicine

relieve re·lieve (rĭ-lēv')
v. re·lieved, re·liev·ing, re·lieves

  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.

re·liev'a·ble adj.
re·liev'er n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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