tr.v. re·lin·quished, re·lin·quish·ing, re·lin·quish·es
1. To give up or abandon (control of something or a claim, for example).
2. To put aside or desist from (something practiced, professed, or intended); stop doing or adhering to.
3. To let go; surrender: relinquished the lands by treaty.
4. To cease holding physically; release: relinquish a grip.
[Middle English relinquisshen, from Old French relinquir, relinquiss-, from Latin relinquere : re-, re- + linquere, to leave; see leikw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: relinquish, yield, resign, abandon, surrender, cede, waive, renounce
These verbs mean letting something go or giving something up. Relinquish, the least specific, may connote regret: can't relinquish his dream of emigrating. Yield implies giving way, as to pressure, often in the hope that such action will be temporary: had to yield ground. Resign suggests formal relinquishing (resigned their claim to my land) or acquiescence arising from hopelessness (resigned himself to forgoing his vacation). Abandon and surrender both imply no expectation of recovering what is given up; surrender also implies the operation of compulsion or force: abandoned all hope for a resolution; surrendered control of the company. Cede connotes formal transfer, as of territory: ceded the province to the victor. Waive implies a voluntary decision to dispense with something, such as a right: waived all privileges. To renounce is to relinquish formally and usually as a matter of principle: renounced worldly goods.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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