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[res-pit] /ˈrɛs pɪt/
a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief:
to toil without respite.
temporary suspension of the execution of a person condemned to death; reprieve.
verb (used with object), respited, respiting.
to relieve temporarily, especially from anything distressing or trying; give an interval of relief from.
to grant delay in the carrying out of (a punishment, obligation, etc.).
Origin of respite
1200-50; (noun) Middle English respit < Old French < Latin respectus (see respect); (v.) Middle English respiten < Old French respitier < Latin respectāre, frequentative of respicere to look back; see respect
Related forms
unrespited, adjective
1. hiatus, rest, recess. 2. postponement, stay. 3. alleviate. 4. postpone, suspend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for respite
  • One of the best places to find respite from the outside world is your garden.
  • The train was filthy and there was no respite from the dirt and heat.
  • His lodgings, provided by former students, made a welcome respite after days of grueling travel.
  • Soon they were slogging away alongside her, into the evening and then-after a respite-returning the following morning.
  • Perhaps this medication can allow a similar respite for people with persistent pain for which the cause no longer exists.
  • It helps fuel the inspired, brings respite to the weary mind and occasionally exposes the unseen.
  • At midnight my temporary respite from blindness would cease, and permanent night would close in on me again.
  • The dealers have no respite from the continual visits and examination of the excise officers.
  • Realizing that there was no respite, no delay or subterfuge possible, he bravely set about his task.
  • TV is supposed to be a respite from the burden of human interaction, not another dysfunctional relationship.
British Dictionary definitions for respite


/ˈrɛspɪt; -paɪt/
a pause from exertion; interval of rest
a temporary delay
a temporary stay of execution; reprieve
(transitive) to grant a respite to; reprieve
Derived Forms
respiteless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French respit, from Latin respectus a looking back; see respect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for respite

mid-13c., from Old French respit "delay, respect" (Modern French répit), from Latin respectus "consideration, recourse, regard" (see respect (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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