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Alternative forms[edit]


rely +‎ -ance


  • IPA(key): /ɹɪˈlaɪəns/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪəns


reliance (countable and uncountable, plural reliances)

  1. The act of relying (on or in someone or something); trust.
    Your reliance on his expertise may be misplaced.
    • c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
      [] his days and times are past
      And my reliances on his fracted [i.e. broken] dates
      Have smit my credit:
    • 1752, Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote[1], London: A. Millar, Volume 2, Book 9, Chapter 9, p. 288:
      How unfavourable is Chance, said Arabella fretting at the Disappointment, to Persons who have any Reliance upon it!
    • 1867, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Samuel Johnson”, in Biographical and Historical Sketches[2], New York: Appleton, page 54:
      It was out of his power to support his son at either university; but a wealthy neighbor offered assistance; and, in reliance on promises which proved to be of very little value, Samuel was entered at Pembroke College, Oxford.
    • 1912, W. Somerset Maugham, Mrs. Dot[3], London: Heinemann, act 2, page 89:
      I put infinite reliance in your tact.
    • 1962, C. S. Forester, chapter 3, in Hornblower and the Hotspur[4], London: Michael, Joseph:
      Hornblower could see in a flash that he could place implicit reliance on Bush’s seamanship.
  2. The condition of being reliant or dependent.
    The industry is working to phase out its reliance on fossil fuels.
  3. (dated) Anything on which to rely; ground of trust.
    The boat was a poor reliance.
    • 1593, Thomas Nashe, Christs Teares ouer Ierusalem[5], London: Thomas Thorp, published 1613, page 69:
      Thou wert once the chiefe pillar of my posterity, and the whole reliance of my name:
    • 1656, Robertson Sanderson, Twenty Sermons[6], London: Henry Seile, Sermon 14, p. 280:
      A horse is counted but a vain thing, [] to save a man. So are Chariots, and Forts, and Armies, and Navies, and all earthly reliances.
    • 1741, [Samuel Richardson], “Letter XXXII”, in Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to IV), London: [] C[harles] Rivington, []; and J. Osborn, [], →OCLC, page 286:
      Mr. Adams may marry as well as Mr. Williams; and both, I believe, will find God’s Providence a better Reliance, than the richest Benefice in England.
    • 1914, Stephen Leacock, chapter 5, in Adventurers of the Far North[7], Toronto: Glasgow, Brook, page 123:
      Most ominous of all was the discovery of over six hundred empty cans that had held preserved meat, the main reliance of the expedition.
  4. A person or thing which relies on another. (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:)

Derived terms[edit]