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tr.v. re·leased, re·leas·ing, re·leas·es
a. To set free from confinement or bondage: released the prisoner.
b. To set free from physical restraint or binding; let go: released the balloons; released the brake.
c. To cause or allow to move away or spread from a source or place of confinement: cells that release histamine.
d. To make available for use: released the funds for the project.
a. To set free from obligations, commitments, or debt: released them from their contract.
b. To relieve of care or suffering: Only death could release him from suffering.
a. To issue for performance, sale, publication, or distribution: release a new movie.
b. To make known or available: released the new study on the drug.
4. Law To surrender (a right, claim, or title).
a. Deliverance or liberation, as from confinement.
b. Discharge from an obligation or commitment.
c. Relief from suffering or care.
a. An unfastening or letting go, as of something caught or held fast.
b. Sports The action of throwing a ball or propelling a puck: a quarterback with a quick release.
c. Linguistics The movement of a vocal organ or organs so as to end the closure of a stop consonant.
3. A device or catch for locking or releasing a mechanism.
a. The act or an instance of issuing something for publication, use, or distribution.
b. Something thus issued: a new release of a software program.
c. The condition of being available, in use, or in publication: a movie in wide release.
5. Law
a. The surrender of a right, title, or claim, especially to one against whom the right, title, or claim would be enforced or exercised.
b. The document attesting to such surrender.

[Middle English relesen, from Old French relaissier, alteration of relacher, from Latin relaxāre; see relax.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


In air defense, weapons and crews which have been released from commitments and states of readiness. When so released, they are given a time at which a state of readiness will be resumed.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.
References in classic literature ?
Yet when they struck the ground it was with scarce a jar; and as Clayton released his hold on the ape-man he saw him dart like a squirrel for the opposite side of the cabin.
Tarzan, racking his brains for some means to cope single-handed with the infuriated beast, had suddenly recalled his battle with Terkoz; and as the great shoulders came clear of the window, so that the lioness hung upon the sill only by her forepaws, Tarzan suddenly released his hold upon the brute.
He was released without any reproach to himself, from an entanglement which had long formed his misery, from a woman whom he had long ceased to love;-- and elevated at once to that security with another, which he must have thought of almost with despair, as soon as he had learnt to consider it with desire.
But when the second moment had passed, when she found every doubt, every solicitude removed, compared her situation with what so lately it had been,--saw him honourably released from his former engagement, saw him instantly profiting by the release, to address herself and declare an affection as tender, as constant as she had ever supposed it to be,--she was oppressed, she was overcome by her own felicity;-- and happily disposed as is the human mind to be easily familiarized with any change for the better, it required several hours to give sedateness to her spirits, or any degree of tranquillity to her heart.
Thus fearful alike, of those within the prison and of those without; of noise and silence; light and darkness; of being released, and being left there to die; he was so tortured and tormented, that nothing man has ever done to man in the horrible caprice of power and cruelty, exceeds his self-inflicted punishment.
'Unless we are released to-night,' one of them cried, 'we are dead men!'
'I tell you what it is,' said the hangman, gravely; 'I'm afraid, my friend, that you're not in that 'ere state of mind that's suitable to your condition, then; you're not a-going to be released: don't think it--Will you leave off that 'ere indecent row?
Quasimodo looked him full in the face, a trembling seized him, and he released the priest and shrank back.
Sancho, on his part, gave a helping hand to release Gines de Pasamonte, who was the first to leap forth upon the plain free and unfettered, and who, attacking the prostrate commissary, took from him his sword and the musket, with which, aiming at one and levelling at another, he, without ever discharging it, drove every one of the guards off the field, for they took to flight, as well to escape Pasamonte's musket, as the showers of stones the now released galley slaves were raining upon them.
Then I released my hold upon him and in an instant he was swallowed by the black shadows far below.
To uncover my breast for an instant would have been to court sudden death, but I saw no other way than to chance it, if by so doing I might rescue that oncoming, succoring fleet; and so, in the face of a wicked sword-thrust, I reached out my point and caught the great switch a sudden blow that released it from its seating.
As if it had been poised upon steel springs, suddenly released, it rose quickly and silently to the top of the palisade, disappearing, stealthily and catlike, into the dark space between the wall and the back of an adjacent hut.