Definition of respite in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrespət/


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 a dire food shortage
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;
relief, relaxation, repose
informal breather, letup
1.1A short delay permitted before an unpleasant obligation is met or a punishment is carried out.
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, reprieve;
Law  continuance


[with object] rare
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 delay or extension of time to; reprieve from death or execution: 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'.

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