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respite

A respite is a break from something that's difficult or unpleasant. If you're cramming for exams, take an occasional walk to give yourself a respite from the intensity.

Respite may look like it rhymes with despite, but this word has a stress on its first syllable (RES-pit). It comes from the Latin word respectus, meaning refuge, but we almost always use respite to describe a time, not a place, of relief. If you've been fighting with your partner, a visit from a friend might offer a brief respite from the argument, but the fight will pick up again when she leaves.

Definitions of respite
  1. noun
    a pause from doing something (as work)
    synonyms: break, recess, time out
    see moresee less
    types:
    spring break
    a week or more of recess during the spring term at school
    recess
    a break in the school day for play or relaxation
    type of:
    pause
    temporary inactivity
  2. noun
    a pause for relaxation
    synonyms: relief, rest, rest period
    see moresee less
    types:
    breath, breather, breathing place, breathing space, breathing spell, breathing time
    a short respite
    type of:
    break, intermission, interruption, pause, suspension
    a time interval during which there is a temporary cessation of something
  3. noun
    a (temporary) relief from harm or discomfort
    synonyms: reprieve
    see moresee less
    type of:
    ease, relief
    the condition of being comfortable or relieved (especially after being relieved of distress)
  4. noun
    an interruption in the intensity or amount of something
    synonyms: abatement, hiatus, reprieve, 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
  5. noun
    the act of reprieving; postponing or remitting punishment
    synonyms: reprieve
    see moresee less
    type of:
    clemency, mercifulness, mercy
    leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice
  6. verb
    postpone the punishment of a convicted criminal, such as an execution
    synonyms: reprieve
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