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1. A usually short period of rest or relief. See Synonyms at pause.
2. Law
a. Temporary suspension of the execution of a sentence.
b. Forbearance or delay, as granted in the payment of a debt.
tr.v. res·pit·ed, res·pit·ing, res·pites
1. To delay (a legal sentence, for example); postpone.
2. To grant a respite to (someone).
Relating to or being a respite: respite care.

[Middle English, from Old French respit, from Latin respectus, refuge, looking back; see respect.]
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.


(ˈrɛspɪt; -paɪt)
1. a pause from exertion; interval of rest
2. a temporary delay
3. a temporary stay of execution; reprieve
(tr) to grant a respite to; reprieve
[C13: from Old French respit, from Latin respectus a looking back; see respect]
ˈrespiteless adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈrɛs pɪt)

n., v. -pit•ed, -pit•ing. n.
1. a delay or cessation for a time, esp. of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief.
2. temporary suspension of a death sentence; reprieve; stay.
3. to relieve temporarily, esp. from anything distressing or trying.
4. to grant delay in the carrying out of (a punishment, obligation, etc.); postpone.
[1200–50; (n.) Middle English respit < Old French < Latin respectus (see respect); (v.) Middle English < Old French respitier < Latin respectāre, frequentative of respicere to look back; see respect]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



busman’s holiday A vacation or day off from work spent in an activity of the same nature as one’s usual occupation. There are Britishers who say that the regular driver of a London bus actually did spend one of his days off riding as a passenger alongside the driver who was taking his place, but thus far no evidence has been found to substantiate the story. The expression has been in use since 1893.

come up for air To take a breather, take five, take time out; to relax, rest, or enjoy a respite. The phrase implies that one has been so inundated with work or immersed in work that he is in danger of drowning, figuratively speaking; like an underwater swimmer or a diver he must pause to refresh himself and recoup his powers for the next lap.

hang up one’s hatchet See RETIREMENT.

pit stop A brief stop at a restaurant or rest area to break the monotony of an automobile trip and allow passengers to stretch their legs; a short stay at a place while en route to a distant destination. This expression derives from the auto racing pit referring to the area alongside a speedway where cars stop to be serviced or refueled.

rest on one’s oars To relax after strenuous exertion; to suspend one’s efforts temporarily; to take it easy for a while. Often this boating phrase is extended to mean ceasing one’s labors altogether, relying on the momentum of past performance to carry one along. In this sense it is virtually synonymous with rest on one’s laurels. Rest on one’s oars was used literally in the early 18th century, and figuratively shortly thereafter.

The managers of the usual autumn gathering of paintings … will rest on their oars. (Athenaeum, April, 1887)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Past participle: respited
Gerund: respiting

I respite
you respite
he/she/it respites
we respite
you respite
they respite
I respited
you respited
he/she/it respited
we respited
you respited
they respited
Present Continuous
I am respiting
you are respiting
he/she/it is respiting
we are respiting
you are respiting
they are respiting
Present Perfect
I have respited
you have respited
he/she/it has respited
we have respited
you have respited
they have respited
Past Continuous
I was respiting
you were respiting
he/she/it was respiting
we were respiting
you were respiting
they were respiting
Past Perfect
I had respited
you had respited
he/she/it had respited
we had respited
you had respited
they had respited
I will respite
you will respite
he/she/it will respite
we will respite
you will respite
they will respite
Future Perfect
I will have respited
you will have respited
he/she/it will have respited
we will have respited
you will have respited
they will have respited
Future Continuous
I will be respiting
you will be respiting
he/she/it will be respiting
we will be respiting
you will be respiting
they will be respiting
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been respiting
you have been respiting
he/she/it has been respiting
we have been respiting
you have been respiting
they have been respiting
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been respiting
you will have been respiting
he/she/it will have been respiting
we will have been respiting
you will have been respiting
they will have been respiting
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been respiting
you had been respiting
he/she/it had been respiting
we had been respiting
you had been respiting
they had been respiting
I would respite
you would respite
he/she/it would respite
we would respite
you would respite
they would respite
Past Conditional
I would have respited
you would have respited
he/she/it would have respited
we would have respited
you would have respited
they would have respited
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.respite - a (temporary) relief from harm or discomfortrespite - a (temporary) relief from harm or discomfort
relief, ease - the condition of being comfortable or relieved (especially after being relieved of distress); "he enjoyed his relief from responsibility"; "getting it off his conscience gave him some ease"
2.respite - a pause from doing something (as work)respite - a pause from doing something (as work); "we took a 10-minute break"; "he took time out to recuperate"
pause - temporary inactivity
spring break - a week or more of recess during the spring term at school
3.respite - an interruption in the intensity or amount of somethingrespite - an interruption in the intensity or amount of something
break, interruption - some abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity; "the telephone is an annoying interruption"; "there was a break in the action when a player was hurt"
defervescence - abatement of a fever as indicated by a reduction in body temperature
remission, subsidence, remittal - an abatement in intensity or degree (as in the manifestations of a disease); "his cancer is in remission"
4.respite - a pause for relaxationrespite - a pause for relaxation; "people actually accomplish more when they take time for short rests"
pause, suspension, intermission, interruption, break - a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
5.respite - the act of reprieving; postponing or remitting punishment
mercy, clemency, mercifulness - leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice; "he threw himself on the mercy of the court"
law, jurisprudence - the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization presupposes respect for the law"; "the great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order"
Verb1.respite - postpone the punishment of a convicted criminal, such as an execution
postpone, prorogue, put off, defer, set back, shelve, table, put over, remit, hold over - hold back to a later time; "let's postpone the exam"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. pause, break, rest, relief, halt, interval, relaxation, recess, interruption, lull, cessation, let-up (informal), breathing space, breather (informal), hiatus, intermission I rang home during a brief respite at work.
2. reprieve, stay, delay, suspension, moratorium, postponement, adjournment Devaluation would only give the economy brief respite.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. A pause or interval, as from work or duty:
Informal: breather.
2. Temporary immunity from penalties:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مُهْلَة، فَتْرَة راحَه أو إسْتِراحَه
hvíld, hlé


[ˈrespaɪt] N (gen) → respiro m, tregua f (Jur) → prórroga f, plazo m
without respitesin descanso
to get no respiteno tener alivio, no poder descansar
we got no respite from the heatel calor apenas nos dejó respirar
they gave us no respiteno nos dejaron respirar
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈrɛspaɪt] n
(= break) → répit m
there was no respite from ...
There was absolutely no respite from the noise → Le bruit ne laissait aucun instant de répit.
(= delay) → répit m
The creditors gave them three months' respite → Les créanciers leur ont accordé trois mois de répit.respite care nsoins mpl de répit
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= rest)Ruhepause f(from von); (= easing off)Nachlassen nt; without (a) respiteohne Unterbrechung or Pause
(= reprieve)Aufschub m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈrɛspaɪt] n (frm) → tregua, requie
without respite → senza tregua or requie
they gave us no respite → non ci hanno dato tregua
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈrespait) , ((American) -pit) noun
a pause or rest.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n relevo, respiro, descanso; (V. también respite care bajo care.)
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Joe was too busy living through the storm he had already caused, blocking, covering up, and ducking into the safety and respite of the clinches.
He evidently wanted a little respite. After turning his head from right to left for some time, he sighed and looked down.
Yes, I am again in control of myself: "the captain of my soul." But that is not respite; it is another stage and phase of expiation.
Six years more of toil they had to face before they could expect the least respite, the cessation of the payments upon the house; and how cruelly certain it was that they could never stand six years of such a life as they were living!
It was his brightness indeed that gave me a respite. Would it be so great if he were really going to tell me?
The very anticipations of delight to be enjoyed in his forthcoming visits -- the bright, pure gleam of heavenly happiness it diffused over the almost deadly warfare in which he had voluntarily engaged, illumined his whole countenance with a look of ineffable joy and calmness, as, immediately after Villefort's departure, his thoughts flew back to the cheering prospect before him, of tasting, at least, a brief respite from the fierce and stormy passions of his mind.
THE ragged line had respite for some min- utes, but during its pause the struggle in the forest became magnified until the trees seemed to quiver from the firing and the ground to shake from the rushing of the men.
Whilst burning-hot napkins, physic, revulsives, and Guenaud, who was recalled, were performing their functions with increased activity, Colbert, holding his great head in both his hands, to compress within it the fever of the projects engendered by the brain, was meditating the tenor of the donation he would make Mazarin write, at the first hour of respite his disease should afford him.
On the contrary, this morning you offered me a week's respite."
The sensations of bodily sickness, in a comfortable bed, and with the tendance of the good-natured landlady, made a sort of respite for her; such a respite as there is in the faint weariness which obliges a man to throw himself on the sand instead of toiling onward under the scorching sun.
"One obtains a respite; that does no harm to any one, and allows the midwives, who are poor women, to earn forty deniers parisis."
All were winded, but when those who were left of the eleven original antagonists drew back to regain their breath, the young giant gave them no respite, but leaped among them with the long lash they had such good reason to hate and fear.