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release - definition and synonyms

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verb [transitive]     release pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlereleasing
past tensereleased
past participlereleased
  1. 1
    to let someone leave a place where they have been kept

    The hostages are due to be released at 2 pm today.

    release someone from something:

    He was released from prison in July.

    1. a.
      to let someone leave a hospital or other place where they have been having medical treatment

      He was taken to a local hospital but released after a check-up.

    2. b.
      to let an animal leave a place where you have been keeping it

      Fully recovered, the birds can now be released back into the wild.

      release something from something:

      The tiger was accidentally released from its cage.

    3. c.
      to save someone from a place that they are unable to leave

      The men were released by firemen after becoming trapped in a lift.

  2. 2
    to stop holding something

    She slowly released her grip on Louisa’s hand.

    1. a.
      to stop holding something so that it goes up into the air or falls from a height

      Six hundred balloons were released at the ceremony.

  3. 3
    science to let a substance or energy spread into the area or atmosphere around it, especially as part of a chemical reaction

    Cooking the grain will release the starch from the outside coating.

    release something into something:

    Oxygen from the water is released into the atmosphere.

  4. 4
    to move a piece of equipment from the position that it is held in

    Don’t forget to release the handbrake.

  5. 5
    to get rid of a negative feeling, especially one that you have had for a long time

    Take a long walk to release all that pent-up aggression.

  6. 7
    formal to allow someone not to have to do something
    release someone from something:

    We were released from our classes in order to take part in the celebration.

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