April 02, 2012
rely (verb)
\rih-LYE\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to have confidence based on experience2 : to be dependent
How do you use it?
Dolphins rely on echolocation to discover the size, shape, and position of distant objects in the water.
Are you a word wiz?

Based on our experience, we have confidence that you can answer today's quiz. One of the statements below about the word "rely" is true. Which one do you think it is?

If you chose B, you're right! "Rely" traces back ultimately to the Latin word "ligare," meaning "to tie." With the prefix "re-" added, it became Latin "religare," "to tie out of the way," which passed through Anglo-French as "relier," "to retie, gather, rally," and on to Middle English as "relien," "to rally." "Rally" developed from the sense of something being gathered together again, as in "rallying troops." "Rely" first came into use in English the mid-to-late 1500s with the meaning "to depend on with confidence," which is now the most common sense of the word.
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