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[res-kyoo] /ˈrɛs kyu/
verb (used with object), rescued, rescuing.
to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil.
Law. to liberate or take by forcible or illegal means from lawful custody.
the act of rescuing.
of or relating to someone or something trained or equipped to rescue:
a rescue dog.
Origin of rescue
1300-50; (v.) Middle English rescuen < Old French rescourre, equivalent to re- re- + escourre to shake, drive out, remove < Latin excutere (ex- ex-1 + -cutere, combining form of quatere to shake); (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related forms
rescuable, adjective
rescueless, adjective
rescuer, noun
nonrescue, noun
quasi-rescued, adjective
unrescuable, adjective
unrescued, adjective
1. liberate, release, save, redeem, ransom, extricate, recover. 3. liberation, deliverance, release, redemption, recovery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rescue
  • The rescue package presents new questions for money market funds and their customers.
  • The police, and health and rescue teams have also been efficient and clear about their duties.
  • But opportunity, entrepreneurial drive and public-minded generosity came to the rescue.
  • Our correspondents discuss what needs to be done to rescue the single currency.
  • Firefighters frantically cranked a rescue ladder, which rose slowly skyward-then stopped at the sixth floor, fully extended.
  • They work together to rescue themselves, and in the end, that teamwork is what makes them such a strong team.
  • Here's my favorite example of plants coming to the rescue.
  • For any government setting out a rescue, this reception holds two lessons, concerning the scale and the shape of a rescue.
  • Even as cars are growing safer, they are becoming increasingly complex puzzles for rescue workers who might have to cut into them.
  • Yet aftershocks frighten residents and complicate rescue efforts.
British Dictionary definitions for rescue


verb (transitive) -cues, -cuing, -cued
to bring (someone or something) out of danger, attack, harm, etc; deliver or save
to free (a person) from legal custody by force
(law) to seize (goods or property) by force
  1. the act or an instance of rescuing
  2. (as modifier): a rescue party
the forcible removal of a person from legal custody
(law) the forcible seizure of goods or property
Derived Forms
rescuable, adjective
rescuer, noun
Word Origin
C14: rescowen, from Old French rescourre, from re- + escourre to pull away, from Latin excutere to shake off, from quatere to shake
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 rescue

late 14c., from rescue (v.). Earlier noun was rescous (early 14c.), from Old French rescous.


c.1300, from stem of Old French rescorre "protect, keep safe; free, deliver" (Modern French recourre), from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + escourre "to cast off, discharge," from Latin excutere "to shake off, drive away," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + -cutere, combining form of quatere "to shake" (see quash). Related: Rescued; rescuing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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