Definition of respite in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɛspʌɪt/
Pronunciation: /ˈrɛspɪt/


[mass noun]
1A short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant: the refugee encampments will provide some respite from the suffering [in singular]: a brief respite from the heat
More example sentences
  • Charlie wasn't sure if she should try to keep the girl awake or not, but at last decided to give her respite from the pain by letting her rest.
  • Everyone is scurrying for shade and some respite from the sun.
  • Colourful deck umbrellas offer respite from the heat.
rest, break, breathing space, interval, intermission, interlude, recess, lull, pause, time out, hiatus, halt, stop, stoppage, cessation, discontinuation, standstill;
relief, relaxation, repose
informal breather, let-up
1.1A short delay permitted before an unpleasant obligation is met or a punishment is carried out: a Letter of Licence, by which creditors agreed to postpone claims, brought only temporary respite
More example sentences
  • That is only temporary respite, until cheaper ‘sewing solutions’ drive them out again.
  • This respite was temporary - as it had been so many other times before.
  • At best, the country has gained a temporary respite; at worst, it has merely succeeded in stoking the flames of hatred even higher.
postponement, deferment, delay, stay, stay of execution, reprieve, remission, suspension, adjournment, moratorium;
North American Law  continuance


[with object]
1 rare Postpone (a sentence, obligation, etc.): the execution was only respited a few months
More example sentences
  • That of 1320 was respited as a result of the appeal usually known as the ‘declaration of Arbroath’; from then on, the pope was prepared at least to give King Robert his proper title.
  • The debate of it was respited to the next meeting, it being late.
  • I looked at the case it's referring to and the judgement was respited, so you're right to tag it up as supplementary.
1.1 archaic Grant a respite to (someone, especially a person condemned to death): some poor criminal ... from the gibbet or the wheel, respited for a day
More example sentences
  • The rare exception made for pregnant women in Jamaica was that they were ‘respited… from execution until after their pregnancy’.
  • Women, therefore, who were quick with child, and convicted of capital crimes, were respited until after delivery.
  • Considerable influence was exerted to save her from the death sentence and in the end it was respited, though the records do not tell her ultimate fate.


Middle English: from Old French respit, from Latin respectus 'refuge, consideration'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: res|pite

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