from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To set free from confinement, restraint, or bondage: released the prisoners.
  • transitive v. To free from something that binds, fastens, or holds back; let go: released the balloons; released a flood of questions.
  • transitive v. To dismiss, as from a job.
  • transitive v. To relieve of debt or obligation.
  • transitive v. To relieve of care and suffering.
  • transitive v. To issue for performance, sale, publication, or distribution.
  • transitive v. To make known or available.
  • transitive v. To relinquish (a right or claim).
  • n. A deliverance or liberation, as from confinement, restraint, or suffering.
  • n. An authoritative discharge, as from an obligation or from prison.
  • n. An unfastening or letting go of something caught or held fast.
  • n. A device or catch for locking or releasing a mechanism.
  • n. The act or an instance of issuing something for publication, use, or distribution.
  • n. Something thus released: a new release of a software program.
  • n. The condition of being available, in use, or in publication: a movie in wide release.
  • n. Law Relinquishment to another of a right, title, or claim.
  • n. Law The document authorizing such relinquishment.
  • n. Linguistics The movement of a vocal organ or organs so as to end the closure of a stop consonant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the event of setting (someone or something) free (e.g. hostages, slaves, prisoners, caged animals, hooked or stuck mechanisms)
  • n. The distribution of an initial or new and upgraded version of a computer software product; the distribution can be both public or private.
  • n. Anything recently released or made available (as for sale).
  • n. That which is released, untied or let go.
  • v. To lease again; to grant a new lease of; to let back.
  • v. To let go (of); to cease to hold or contain.
  • v. To make available to the public.
  • v. To free or liberate; to set free.
  • v. To discharge.
  • v. (of a call) To hang up.
  • v. To set up; to provide with a goal-scoring opportunity

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of letting loose or freeing, or the state of being let loose or freed; liberation or discharge from restraint of any kind, as from confinement or bondage.
  • n. Relief from care, pain, or any burden.
  • n. Discharge from obligation or responsibility, as from debt, penalty, or claim of any kind; acquittance.
  • n. A giving up or relinquishment of some right or claim; a conveyance of a man's right in lands or tenements to another who has some estate in possession; a quitclaim.
  • n. The act of opening the exhaust port to allow the steam to escape.
  • n. A device adapted to hold or release a device or mechanism as required
  • n. The act or manner of ending a sound.
  • n. In the block-signaling system, a printed card conveying information and instructions to be used at intermediate sidings without telegraphic stations.
  • transitive v. To lease again; to grant a new lease of; to let back.
  • transitive v. To let loose again; to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude; to give liberty to, or to set at liberty; to let go.
  • transitive v. To relieve from something that confines, burdens, or oppresses, as from pain, trouble, obligation, penalty.
  • transitive v. To let go, as a legal claim; to discharge or relinquish a right to, as lands or tenements, by conveying to another who has some right or estate in possession, as when the person in remainder releases his right to the tenant in possession; to quit.
  • transitive v. To loosen; to relax; to remove the obligation of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To let loose; set free from restraint or confmement; liberate, as from prison, confinement, or servitude.
  • To free from pain, care, trouble, grief, or any other evil.
  • To free from obligation or penalty: as, to release one from debt, or from a promise or covenant.
  • To forgive.
  • To quit; let go, as a legal claim; remit; surrender or relinquish: as, to release a debt, or to release a right to lands or tenements by conveying to another already having some right or estate in possession.
  • To relax.
  • To let slip; let go; give up.
  • To take out of pawn. Nabbes, The Bride (4 to, 1640), sig. F. iv.
  • To lease again or anew.
  • n. Liberation or discharge from restraint of any kind, as from confinement or bondage.
  • n. Liberation from care, pain, or any burden.
  • n. Discharge from obligation or responsibility, as from debt, tax, penalty, or claim of any kind; acquittance.
  • n. In law, a surrender of a right; a remission of a claim in such form as to estop the grantor from asserting it. again.
  • n. In a steam-engine, the opening of the exhaust-port before the stroke is finished, to lessen the back-pressure.
  • n. In archery, the act of letting go the bowstring in shooting; the mode of performing this act, which differs among different peoples.
  • n. =Syn. 1–3. Deliverance, excuse, exemption, exoneration, absolution, clearance. See the verb.
  • n. See combination button.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make (assets) available
  • n. a process that liberates or discharges something
  • v. grant freedom to; free from confinement
  • n. the act of liberating someone or something
  • n. the act of allowing a fluid to escape
  • n. activity that frees or expresses creative energy or emotion
  • n. merchandise issued for sale or public showing (especially a record or film)
  • v. eliminate (a substance)
  • v. part with a possession or right
  • v. make (information) available for publication
  • n. euphemistic expressions for death
  • n. a formal written statement of relinquishment
  • n. a legal document evidencing the discharge of a debt or obligation
  • v. prepare and issue for public distribution or sale
  • n. an announcement distributed to members of the press in order to supplement or replace an oral presentation
  • n. the termination of someone's employment (leaving them free to depart)
  • v. generate and separate from cells or bodily fluids
  • v. release (gas or energy) as a result of a chemical reaction or physical decomposition
  • n. (music) the act or manner of terminating a musical phrase or tone
  • v. release, as from one's grip
  • n. a device that when pressed will release part of a mechanism
  • v. let (something) fall or spill from a container


Middle English relesen, from Old French relaissier, alteration of relacher, from Latin relaxāre; see relax.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French relaisser (variant of relascher). (Wiktionary)



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  • Contronymic in the sense: set free vs. lock in (as a new lease).

    January 27, 2007

  • However, if you wish, I hereby proclaim that Debian shall release woody before
    December 31, 2099, or when it is ready, whichever comes first. (Manoj Srivastava)

    December 12, 2006