Definition of rely in English:

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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'.

  • The word rely is from Old French relier ‘bind together’, from Latin ligare ‘bind’. The original sense was ‘gather together’, later ‘turn to, associate with’, which then led to ‘depend upon with confidence’. The same Latin root gives us liable [1642] originally meaning ‘bound by law’, ligament (late 16th century), and ligature (Middle English), both originally used for anything that ties.

Words that rhyme with rely

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·ly

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