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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She sprang up, and, with an impulse for rescue, went to the door of the smoking-room.

    The Coast of Chance Esther Chamberlain
  • “He fled, when Stephen made in to the rescue of my father,” said Dennet.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • I have heard all about the attendant circumstances and the rescue of these lads.

    That Scholarship Boy Emma Leslie
  • The Greeks rushed to the rescue, while all Europe held aloof.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • It was a manoeuvre, and there would be an attempt to rescue, after all.

    In Honour's Cause George Manville Fenn
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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