reprieve

A reprieve is a break in or cancellation of a painful or otherwise lousy situation. If you're being tortured, a reprieve is a break from whatever's tormenting you.

For some, a night at the opera is a night of punishing boredom during which the only reprieve is the intermission. For others, it's baseball that feels like torture. The seventh-inning stretch is the only reprieve from a night of endless waiting. Often, you'll hear reprieve used when a court or governor decides not to execute a prisoner. That prisoner is given a reprieve and will be allowed to live. He probably won't get a reprieve from prison, though, unless he's found innocent.

Definitions of reprieve
  1. verb
    postpone the punishment of a convicted criminal, such as an execution
    synonyms: respite
  2. noun
    the act of reprieving; postponing or remitting punishment
    synonyms: respite
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    type of:
    clemency, mercifulness, mercy
    leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice
  3. noun
    a warrant granting postponement (usually to postpone the execution of the death sentence)
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    type of:
    warrant
    a writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts
  4. verb
    relieve temporarily
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    type of:
    deliver, rescue
    free from harm or evil
  5. noun
    a (temporary) relief from harm or discomfort
    synonyms: respite
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    type of:
    ease, relief
    the condition of being comfortable or relieved (especially after being relieved of distress)
  6. noun
    an interruption in the intensity or amount of something
    synonyms: abatement, hiatus, respite, suspension
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    types:
    defervescence
    abatement of a fever as indicated by a reduction in body temperature
    remission, remittal, subsidence
    an abatement in intensity or degree (as in the manifestations of a disease)
    resolution
    the subsidence of swelling or other signs of inflammation (especially in a lung)
    type of:
    break, interruption
    some abrupt occurrence that interrupts an ongoing activity
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