Definition of rely in English:


Line breaks: rely
Pronunciation: /rɪˈlʌɪ

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, count, bank, place reliance, bargain, plan, reckon; anticipate, expect, pin one's hopes on, hope for, take for granted, take on trust, trust; be confident of, have (every) confidence in, be sure of, believe in, have faith in, pin one's faith on, trust in, cling to, swear by
    North American informal 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, depend, lean, hinge, turn, hang, rest, pivot, be contingent; be unable to manage without, have recourse to, resort to, fall back on


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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a small amount; a little