Definition of rescue in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈreskyo͞o/

verb (rescues, rescuing, rescued)

[with object]
1Save (someone) from a dangerous or distressing situation: firemen were called out to rescue a man trapped in the river
More example sentences
  • A teenager has thanked fire crews who saved his life by rescuing him from a blazing inferno.
  • Firefighters had to rescue four people trapped in their vehicles.
  • What makes people risk their lives to rescue someone trapped in a burning house or drowning in a river?
save, save from danger, save the life of, come to the aid of;
free, set free, release, liberate
1.1 informal Keep from being lost or abandoned; retrieve: he got out of his chair to rescue his cup of coffee
More example sentences
  • Now that he had rescued his belongings from the desert sand and pilfering fingers, he felt like a large weight had been lifted off his shoulders so he decided to stay a few more days and give them the benefit of his expertise.
  • The yellow phenotype was completely rescued in all five lines.
  • When it comes to her tennis, she is bright enough to construct a point, strong enough to wallop a point and fast enough to rescue a lost cause.
retrieve, recover, salvage, get back


1An act of saving or being saved from danger or distress: he came to our rescue with a loan of $100
More example sentences
  • In an amazing stroke of luck for the sick patient, all three people who came to his rescue were health workers.
  • Two men passing by dramatically came to their rescue and managed to reach them using the branches from nearby trees.
  • A TEENAGER'S boyfriend came to her rescue when she was dragged to the ground by another youngster on Thursday.
saving, rescuing;
release, freeing, liberation, bailout, deliverance, redemption
help, assist, lend a helping hand to, lend a hand to, bail out
informal save someone's bacon, save someone's neck, save someone's skin
1.1 [as modifier] Denoting the emergency excavation of archaeological sites threatened by imminent building or road development.
Example sentences
  • My sixth form tutor gave me days off to help on rescue excavations.
  • The discovery came about during rescue excavations on Thames Water's sludge works.
  • Our excavation was a rescue project in every sense of the phrase.
1.2 [as modifier] Denoting or relating to a domestic animal that has been removed from a situation of abuse or neglect by a welfare organization: adopting a rescue cat may be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do some people find their ideal pet in a rescue shelter
More example sentences
  • I have an old rescue cat staying with me called Snowflake.
  • Last night I had an unexpected trip to the vets with Cassius, our first rescue cat who's been with us nearly 2 years now.
  • My grandmother had always owned a cat, and later in life she started adopting rescue cats from the local Cats Protection League.



Example sentences
  • What has now emerged is that you had 400 people - 343 firemen and the police - who died inside buildings that were empty of rescuable people.
  • We selected one allele, 124, which was homozygous viable to the pharate adult stage and was rescuable with the SNAP - 25 transgene, for more detailed analysis.
  • However, the phenotype was subtle and the mutants were not fully rescuable, indicating that the mutation was leaky and/or conferred semidominance.


Middle English: from Old French rescoure, from Latin re- (expressing intensive force) + excutere 'shake out, discard'.

  • Rescue is from Old French rescoure based on Latin excutere ‘shake out, discard’. The prefix re- intensifies the sense. The notion here is of ‘shaking out’ a captive from the hands of an enemy.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: res·cue

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