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From Anglo-Norman and Old French respit (rest), from Latin respectus. Doublet of respect.



respite (countable and uncountable, plural respites)

  1. A brief interval of rest or relief.
    • Denham
      Some pause and respite only I require.
    • Shakespeare
      I crave but four day's respite.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
    • 2013 May 23, Sarah Lyall, "British Leader’s Liberal Turn Sets Off a Rebellion in His Party," New York Times (retrieved 29 May 2013):
      Mr. Cameron had a respite Thursday from the negative chatter swirling around him when he appeared outside 10 Downing Street to denounce the murder a day before of a British soldier on a London street.
  2. (law) A reprieve, especially from a sentence of death.
  3. (law) The delay of appearance at court granted to a jury beyond the proper term.



respite (third-person singular simple present respites, present participle respiting, simple past and past participle respited)

  1. (transitive) To delay or postpone (an event).
  2. (transitive) To allow (a person) extra time to fulfil some obligation.