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'.

Definition of rely in: