There are 2 main definitions of relay in English:

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relay 1


Pronunciation: /ˈrēˌlā/
1A group of people or animals engaged in a task or activity for a fixed period of time and then replaced by a similar group: the wagons were pulled by relays of horses gangs of workers were sent in relays
More example sentences
  • In 1997 they were part of a 20-strong all-woman expedition which reached the North Pole in relays - a 600-mile marathon which was a first for an all-woman team.
  • Ministry officials are hoping the slaughter and removal of the livestock will be carried out as smoothly as possible, with lorries carrying carcasses in relays to the rendering plant.
  • All modes of transport was used to make the journey while many walked in relays of 1/2 mile trips of the 9 mile trek.
1.1 [usually as modifier] A race between teams usually of sprinters or swimmers, each team member in turn covering part of the total distance: a 550-meter relay race
More example sentences
  • As often as once a week, teams of relay runners compete in a long race that may begin far out on the plain, ending with a dash into the village.
  • As well as the marathon there was a relay team race, a fun run and a walk, all taking place in bright sunshine and warm weather.
  • Her Olympic silver medal came in Los Angeles in 1984 as a member of the Canadian 4x400-metre relay team.
2An electrical device, typically incorporating an electromagnet, that is activated by a current or signal in one circuit to open or close another circuit.
Example sentences
  • At this, there are several loud clicking sounds, as of relays closing their circuits.
  • It can be used in conjunction with thermocouples or solid-state relays in addition to thermistors and RTD sensors.
  • It is now necessary to activate the relay circuit selector switch.
3A device to receive, reinforce, and retransmit a broadcast or program.
Example sentences
  • From there, signals are sent to a radio and a solar-powered relay station 11,000 feet up a mountain, tied to a tree.
  • The new transmitter has been built on the same site as the Penicuik UHF television relay station close to the village of Howgate and began test transmissions on 28 September 2005.
  • The warfighter will utilize organic wide-band digital radio relays to extend connectivity as required to subordinate units.
3.1A message or program transmitted by a relay: a relay of a performance live from the concert hall
More example sentences
  • The channel has followed closely the example of a Canadian network and provides mostly live relays of ITV programmes from the UK.
  • In Rwanda, BBC Swahili will broadcast its coverage on the BBC relay in Kigali on 93.9 FM in Swahili.
  • For the past 16 years, the Royal Opera House has screened live relays to the Covent Garden piazza, reaching thousands of fans and passers-by.
broadcast, transmission, showing


Pronunciation: /rəˈlā/
[with object]
1Receive and pass on (information or a message): she intended to relay everything she had learned
More example sentences
  • Consequently, our scan shifted to copying and relaying the information to the controllers in back.
  • If they raise sufficient concerns he relays the information to the police, including the email address of the suspect user.
  • In the days before phones were commonplace, they relayed many messages and telegrams from family members overseas.
pass on, hand on, transfer, repeat, communicate, send, transmit, disseminate, spread, circulate
1.1Broadcast (something) by passing signals received from elsewhere through a transmitting station: the speech was relayed live from the White House
More example sentences
  • These receive signals from the homes and relay them to larger broadcast towers for processing.
  • In 2002, it was the first regional station in Ireland to relay the celebration from Lourdes.
  • A special wireless transmitter receiver will relay the data to the computer and it's hoped that the information will assist in treating patients with spinal and nerve problems.


Late Middle English (referring to the provision of fresh hounds on the track of a deer): from Old French relai (noun), relayer (verb), based on Latin laxare 'slacken'.

Words that rhyme with relay

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There are 2 main definitions of relay in English:

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relay 2

Pronunciation: /rēˈlā/
(also re-lay)

verb (past and past participle relaid)

[with object] Lay again or differently: they plan to relay about half a mile of the track
More example sentences
  • Newcastle relaid their pitch this season and Liverpool last year - but that is nothing compared with Dutch club Ajax who have had 26 surfaces in recent years, replacing their pitch up to five times a season.
  • It's a fantastic stadium and I recall Bolton had just relaid their pitch.
  • The front drive was too steep, so had to be relaid at a cost of €145,000, and the pool was a nightmare to build,’ he says.
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