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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 606515358, [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, London: A. Millar, Volume 2, Book 9, Chapter 9, p. 288,[1]
      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, New York: Appleton, p. 54,[2]
      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, London: Heinemann, Act 2, p. 89,[3]
      I put infinite reliance in your tact.
    • 1962, C. S. Forester, Hornblower and the Hotspur, London: Michael, Joseph, Chapter 3,[4]
      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.
    • 1933, “‘Rumbling’ & ‘Goosing’,” Time, 25 September, 1933,[5]
      [] he contended that habitual reliance on engine power causes a pilot to lose his ability to make a forced landing “deadstick” if necessary.
    • 2016, Roger Wilkins, “Australia’s economic wellbeing is at a standstill as rift between young and old widens,” The Guardian, 20 July, 2016,[6]
      Poverty in Australia has declined, welfare reliance has stabilised and long-term poverty is becoming rare—but overall economic wellbeing is no longer improving []
  3. (dated) Anything on which to rely; ground of trust.
    The boat was a poor reliance.
    • 1593, Thomas Nashe, Christs Teares ouer Ierusalem, London: Thomas Thorp, 1613, p. 69,[7]
      Thou wert once the chiefe pillar of my posterity, and the whole reliance of my name:
    • 1656, Robertson Sanderson, Twenty Sermons, London: Henry Seile, Sermon 14, p. 280,[8]
      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. [], volume (please specify |volume=I to IV), London: [] C[harles] Rivington, []; and J. Osborn, [], OCLC 1264825423, 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, Adventurers of the Far North, Toronto: Glasgow, Brook, Chapter 5, p. 123,[9]
      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]