- 1relieve something to remove or reduce an unpleasant feeling or pain to relieve the symptoms of a cold to relieve anxiety/guilt/stress Being able to tell the truth at last seemed to relieve her.
- 2relieve something to make a problem less serious synonym alleviate efforts to relieve poverty to relieve traffic congestion
- 3relieve something to make something less boring, especially by introducing something different We played cards to relieve the boredom of the long wait. The black and white pattern is relieved by tiny coloured flowers.
- 4relieve somebody to replace somebody who is on duty to relieve a sentry You'll be relieved at six o'clock.
- 5relieve something to free a town, etc. from an enemy army that has surrounded it
- 6relieve yourself a polite way of referring to going to the toilet I had to relieve myself behind a bush. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French relever, from Latin relevare, from re- (expressing intensive force) + levare
BrE BrE//rɪˈliːv//; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈliːv//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they relieve
BrE BrE//rɪˈliːv//; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈliːv//he / she / it relieves
BrE BrE//rɪˈliːvz//; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈliːvz//past simple relieved
BrE BrE//rɪˈliːvd//; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈliːvd//past participle relieved
BrE BrE//rɪˈliːvd//; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈliːvd//-ing form relieving
BrE BrE//rɪˈliːvɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈliːvɪŋ//