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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.