Definition of respite in English:


Line breaks: res|pite
Pronunciation: /ˈrɛspʌɪt
, -spɪt/


[mass noun]


[with object] rare Back to top  
  • 1Postpone (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'.

More definitions of respite

Definition of respite in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little