Definition of rely in English:


Syllabification: re·ly
Pronunciation: /rəˈlī

verb (relies, relying, relied)

[no object] (rely on/upon)
1Depend on with full trust or confidence: I know I can rely on your discretion
More example sentences
  • This is a situation where an ally, the United States, can rely upon us, can trust upon us.
  • As members of a society, we cope with these complexities and uncertainties by relying on trust.
  • It is impossible to grasp them in full by relying on a single, specific example.
depend on, count on, bank on, place reliance on, reckon on;
be confident of, be sure of, believe in, have faith in, trust in
informal swear by, figure on
1.1Be dependent on: the charity has to rely entirely on public donations
More example sentences
  • You would think we would not have to rely upon public assistance to make ends meet.
  • The charity relies upon voluntary support to provide the majority of their annual costs and support like this is very important to them.
  • The charity relies on donations to provide its services free to clients.
be dependent on, depend on, be unable to manage without


Middle English: from Old French relier 'bind together', from Latin religare, from re- (expressing intensive force) + ligare 'bind'. The original sense was 'gather together', later 'turn to, associate with', whence 'depend upon with confidence'.

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