Main definitions of relay in English

: relay1relay2



  • 1A group of people or animals engaged in a task or activity for a fixed period of time and then replaced by a similar group.

    ‘the wagons were pulled by relays of horses’
    ‘gangs of workers were sent in relays’
    • ‘The ushers therefore had to work in relays, so that one team would be packing up after a royal visit while another was ready to receive the Queen at the next venue.’
    • ‘There are still times available on both evenings between 4pm and 8pm and teams of up to six people are required to swim in relays for one hour.’
    • ‘Even at this hour there were usually at least two secretaries at hand to take down the words in relays.’
    • ‘But at York Crown Court, Judge John Swanson kept his nose so hard to the grindstone, the court staff had to work in relays to keep up with him.’
    • ‘The competition drew to a close as teams raced the length of the sports hall in relays to collect their questions and deliver their answers.’
    • ‘Breakfast was cooked in relays, and we finally took off about 9.30 a.m.’
    • ‘In relays, eight divers went to the bottom to lay ‘red cord’ (an explosive line) across the three previously identified devices.’
    • ‘All modes of transport was used to make the journey while many walked in relays of 1/2 mile trips of the 9 mile trek.’
    • ‘A safety boat and an onshore support team will be with the swimmers, who will swim in relays for around 12 hours each day.’
    • ‘The international effort, led by a York University academic, will see a fleet of aeroplanes working in relays above the Atlantic Ocean to analyse the air.’
    • ‘The large wooden cross was carried in relays, mostly by boys and ladies volunteering to bear the burden.’
    • ‘Stowed below deck with 1,600 other PoWs, he was forced to exist in a space so cramped they had to lie down to sleep in relays.’
    • ‘A horse relay, Gwinn believed, would halve the time required to deliver mail and convince Congress that the central route deserved the federal contract.’
    • ‘Loading time therefore decreed that in combat Texans fire in relays, half the men always carrying charged rifles to prevent being overrun.’
    • ‘Firefighters did the walk in relays, taking over from one another when the air in their breathing apparatus ran out.’
    • ‘Ministry officials are hoping the slaughter and removal of the livestock will be carried out as smoothly as possible, with lorries carrying carcasses in relays to the rendering plant.’
    • ‘We have teams of engineers working in relays splicing the fibre optic cables and repairing the damage.’
    • ‘Mr Routh-Jones said 16 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus worked in relays to fight the flames from the inside of the building.’
    • ‘In 1997 they were part of a 20-strong all-woman expedition which reached the North Pole in relays - a 600-mile marathon which was a first for an all-woman team.’
    • ‘Nick Wood is organising two teams of ten to ride the machine in relays to Christchurch over the August bank holiday weekend.’
    1. 1.1[usually as modifier]A race between teams usually of sprinters or swimmers, each team member in turn covering part of the total distance.
      ‘a 550-meter relay race’
      • ‘Her Olympic silver medal came in Los Angeles in 1984 as a member of the Canadian 4x400-metre relay team.’
      • ‘A series of inter-club juvenile relay races is also on the programme.’
      • ‘Of particular note are four members of the Liberian national men's track and field 100-meter relay team.’
      • ‘Just behind the row of buildings where they're parked is Central Park - where we held relay races around the park's gravel path.’
      • ‘As often as once a week, teams of relay runners compete in a long race that may begin far out on the plain, ending with a dash into the village.’
      • ‘In the men's 4 x 200-metre relay team, he finished seventh.’
      • ‘He competed in relays, hurdles, athletics and cycling.’
      • ‘Dillard won a second gold in the 400m relay.’
      • ‘On Sunday, the team will paddle for glory in the single craft relay race at the junior championships to put their newly-acquired skills to the test.’
      • ‘James also performed superbly in some track events and led his team to victory in the relay races, as well.’
      • ‘The group of eight runners also grabbed solid finishes in the 200m and 400m dash relays and the 800m run relay.’
      • ‘In 1998, at 18, he was part of a world-record-setting 200-meter freestyle relay team.’
      • ‘As well as the marathon there was a relay team race, a fun run and a walk, all taking place in bright sunshine and warm weather.’
      • ‘The next day she reported that she qualified for the 400-meter relay team.’
      • ‘The most exciting races could come in the relays, especially the 4x100 freestyle.’
      • ‘The Scots' 200-meter medley relay team placed second with a 2: 13.88 clocking.’
      • ‘His best world championship performance was 16th in the relay in 2009.’
      • ‘The distance medley relay team of McGregor, Daniel, Szirony, and Jackie Smith won bronze.’
      • ‘Congratulations to Patrick O'Reilly and Martin Davis who won gold medals in the relay.’
      • ‘Indeed the Newry squad won all eight relays, including six with personal best times.’
  • 2An electrical device, typically incorporating an electromagnet, that is activated by a current or signal in one circuit to open or close another circuit.

    • ‘You specify the type and locations for electrical control components such as switches, relays, motors, and so on, and you specify routing locations.’
    • ‘At the heart of AEP's response were a small army of relays - devices designed to trip or cut off power in the event of a sudden surge of electricity or load imbalances.’
    • ‘But this could someday replace transistors in computers, just as transistors replaced vacuum tubes and vacuum tubes replaced electromagnetic relays before them.’
    • ‘They can strip insulation from wires for nest material and their urine sometimes causes corrosion on relays and other electrical components.’
    • ‘When relays on a control panel failed to work Revechon bought replacements in Leeds but they were bigger and rewiring had to take place to make them fit the box.’
    • ‘Kienan Ademetria brushed his long chestnut braid off of his shoulder as he continued to work on the circuit relay.’
    • ‘At this, there are several loud clicking sounds, as of relays closing their circuits.’
    • ‘To jumper the connection, we took off the port shoulder panel above the wing, removed a cannon plug from the safety relay, and connected it to a jumper placed in the cross-country kit.’
    • ‘Roryatkin worked quietly, taking out the fiber-optic cables and their relay nodules and replacing them.’
    • ‘The electrical component involved the supply and installation of new numerical protection relays which replaced the old static and electro mechanical relays.’
    • ‘We have done in-house upgrades on some equipment to replace old relays with a programmable controller.’
    • ‘If rodent damage is found, clean and repair or replace damaged wiring, relays, and other electrical equipment.’
    • ‘If rodent damage is found, clean and repair or replace damaged wiring, relays, and other components and seal over openings that allowed rodent entry.’
    • ‘Multiple samples of components may be needed to perform destructive tests (transformers, relays, plastic enclosures, motors, etc.).’
    • ‘It has two relays on a circuit board, and both can be connected as normally open or normally closed relays.’
    • ‘The robot smoothly activated, lights gradually blinking on, the rising hum of servomotors spinning up to speed, relays switching to new configurations.’
    • ‘That's why each component is protected by relays - essentially, circuit breakers - that open to remove the line or plant from the grid.’
    • ‘It can be used in conjunction with thermocouples or solid-state relays in addition to thermistors and RTD sensors.’
    • ‘The power transmitter, shown below, looks a bit like a cannon, but it's just a box for the flexible suspension of the carbon current collectors which transport power from the relays to the copper contacts on the side of the robot.’
    • ‘It is now necessary to activate the relay circuit selector switch.’
  • 3A device to receive, reinforce, and retransmit a broadcast or program.

    • ‘The mission control station will have a secure satellite relay and line-of-sight communications link.’
    • ‘From there, signals are sent to a radio and a solar-powered relay station 11,000 feet up a mountain, tied to a tree.’
    • ‘The new transmitter has been built on the same site as the Penicuik UHF television relay station close to the village of Howgate and began test transmissions on 28 September 2005.’
    • ‘It took ten years for additional low-power relays to only partially solve this problem, and even today houses as far south as Cambridgeshire can be seen with two antennas, one pointing at Sandy and the other - usually - at Belmont.’
    • ‘The FM relay ensures this part of Malawi can enjoy the same high quality FM sound as its neighbours in Lilongwe and Blantyre.’
    • ‘It had been planned originally to operate a transmitter serving Pembrokeshire with a relay serving the Lleyn Peninsula.’
    • ‘Listeners in the United Arab Emirates will have the opportunity to hear a wider range of BBC World Service programmes when two FM relays revamp their schedules to include BBC programmes in English.’
    • ‘The warfighter will utilize organic wide-band digital radio relays to extend connectivity as required to subordinate units.’
    • ‘Because ‘brute force’ disconnects were not covered in the checklist, we relied on the radio relay for the procedure.’
    • ‘A group of engineering students built an assembly of an audio amplifier, relays, a telephone connection - and a tape recording of a cuckoo clock.’
    • ‘Transmission relays will also be deployed to provide range extension for users when BLOS systems are not available.’
    • ‘Using this system the relay / retrans is able to charge from the 3KW generator or directly from the vehicle's alternator.’
    • ‘Everything from napalm components to green berets, from gunsights to whiskey, from radio relays to rocket warheads, were provisioned.’
    • ‘However, all of the relay transceivers are blocked by the storm.’
    • ‘Transmission indicates a relay, carriage, waves, material carried from one form to another, one place to another.’
    • ‘His early experiments building a mechanical computer were based on telephone relays: the most widely available and reliable ‘yes/no’ devices available to him at the time.’
    • ‘An optical relay provides the image of the gunner's sight to the commander.’
    • ‘You could then set up a relay radio every one - 15 miles and stretch that network out infinitely.’
    • ‘The dishes send and receive signals off an orbiting network relay, which transmits messages to and from a central data center.’
    • ‘The central core also acts as the structural support for the metal tower designed to receive the antennae oriented towards the relay stations at the Dole and Mt Pelerin.’
    1. 3.1A message or program transmitted by a relay.
      ‘a relay of a performance live from the concert hall’
      • ‘The channel has followed closely the example of a Canadian network and provides mostly live relays of ITV programmes from the UK.’
      • ‘On 16 July, as the relay moves on towards the Midlands, BBC Radio Oxford's Drivetime presenter Dominic Cotter will be running with the baton in Banbury.’
      • ‘In Rwanda, BBC Swahili will broadcast its coverage on the BBC relay in Kigali on 93.9 FM in Swahili.’
      • ‘It's easy to test mail setups for open relays - so do it before someone else does!’
      • ‘His breakfast programme will be live from the city centre as last minute preparations are made for the relay and the station will have a team of commentators along the route.’
      • ‘We were monitoring a little bit of your communication relays to Earth earlier today.’
      • ‘Users question the effectiveness of the measure, which they argue is the wrong way of dealing with the problems open mail relays pose in the overall spam problem.’
      • ‘The BBC launches the service on three new FM relays - in Konduz, Faizabad and Pol e Khomri which open this week.’
      • ‘It makes sense having radio relay stations operate in the meter waveband.’
      • ‘For the past 16 years, the Royal Opera House has screened live relays to the Covent Garden piazza, reaching thousands of fans and passers-by.’
      • ‘Bystanders and passers-by, and even those out for an evening stroll, joined the ranks of those who had gathered in front of shop windows to watch the television sets showing the live relay of the match.’
      • ‘Radio relay, developed out of a requirement for mobility, became one of the outstanding developments of WW II.’
      • ‘In Tanzania, the Swahili coverage of the FA Cup final can be heard on the BBC relays, 94.1 FM in Zanzibar and 93.5 FM in Pemba.’
      • ‘Microwave relay and troposcatter communication facilities are not used in the course of troop deployment or combat action, especially in urban areas.’
      • ‘This led to a running battle between the BBC, who demanded the right to control what was available over the wires, and the relay companies, who wanted to offer their customers a range of services.’
      • ‘Malin Head Radio broadcast a Mayday relay to all shipping.’
      • ‘Televised music usually consisted of a studio concert or a relay of a prestigious public concert.’
      • ‘Digital relays change the game completely, says Dolezilek.’
      • ‘There will be a live big screen relay of the competition direct from St David's Hall to the Coal Exchange.’
      broadcast, transmission, programme, communication, telecast, show, feed, livestream
      View synonyms


  • 1 Receive and pass on (information or a message)

    ‘she intended to relay everything she had learned’
    • ‘Eventually, like a rippling effect, pieces of information were being relayed as to the reason for such a security operation.’
    • ‘Edey recognizes that keeping informed and relaying the facts are necessary to stabilize relationships with students.’
    • ‘Road safety messages will be relayed and older children will be given tips on safe driving.’
    • ‘No I didn't, because I didn't want to relay him any incorrect information, and I didn't know exactly what was going on myself.’
    • ‘If they raise sufficient concerns he relays the information to the police, including the email address of the suspect user.’
    • ‘He encouraged the pupils to continue their efforts, raising awareness and relaying the message to minimise waste and recycle.’
    • ‘Consequently, our scan shifted to copying and relaying the information to the controllers in back.’
    • ‘Information is relayed, where available, on where and how the objects were collected.’
    • ‘You newshounds won't be able to resist relaying the latest entertaining information, complete with added theatrical effects and generous artistic license.’
    • ‘I mean, I just was told by one of my commanders that the information has been relayed.’
    • ‘Don't flat out tell Mom her boyfriend is an idiot - but calmly and maturely relay to her specific instances of when you've felt ignored or unfairly blamed.’
    • ‘A strong message was relayed by the ex-UN Human Rights High Commissioner to the governments of the world.’
    • ‘There are special telephone numbers on which such information may be relayed.’
    • ‘In the days before phones were commonplace, they relayed many messages and telegrams from family members overseas.’
    • ‘Information you provide is relayed to the ambulance crew.’
    • ‘That message could be relayed to the driver's seat, which could alert the driver with a tap on the back.’
    • ‘Inside the kiosk, a special camera relays images of passers-by alongside recorded shots of famous local TV and film celebrities.’
    • ‘A printed report reduces the confusion often caused by relaying such information verbally or through the camper.’
    • ‘National advertising can be a strong conduit for relaying your multicultural message.’
    • ‘This information is then being relayed to interested third parties.’
    pass on, hand on, transfer, repeat, retail, impart, communicate, send, transmit, broadcast, feed, disseminate, make known, publish, spread, circulate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Broadcast (something) by passing signals received from elsewhere through a transmitting station.
      ‘the speech was relayed live from the White House’
      • ‘If the film is to be watched immediately, the telecast will commence at once, thanks to a direct-to-home satellite dish that receives and relays high-fidelity signals.’
      • ‘Some servers are shipped from the factory with software preset to relay e-mail messages automatically.’
      • ‘A special wireless transmitter receiver will relay the data to the computer and it's hoped that the information will assist in treating patients with spinal and nerve problems.’
      • ‘The wireless signal between video player and monitor is relayed via two copper plates a metre apart.’
      • ‘In 2002, it was the first regional station in Ireland to relay the celebration from Lourdes.’
      • ‘An antenna on the Claife Heights mast relays broadband to two antennas on the Queen's Hotel in Ambleside, which in turn links via airwaves to a receiver box mounted outside a house or business premises.’
      • ‘For example, many systems are outfitted with repeaters, which receive and relay signals.’
      • ‘A dramatised sequence shows a malingering worker suffering from a bad conscience as the radio relays Harris' request for one last spurt of effort.’
      • ‘A registration map interconnects two different maps and relays activity from one to the other.’
      • ‘The buoy contains a GSM unit and picks up the signals which it then relays down the wire to the phone.’
      • ‘A computer relays those signals to the brakes, motor, and steering system.’
      • ‘Such cameras relay live images across the internet.’
      • ‘Whenever England visited Australia, Radio Ceylon relayed the live commentaries of Radio Australia.’
      • ‘Stations there picked up and rebroadcast the analog signals relayed by satellite from the Netherlands.’
      • ‘All are equipped with complex camera systems that can peer into mountain ravines or terrorist compounds, instantly relaying images back to safely situated ground stations.’
      • ‘Anonymous hubs are special computers on the Internet which relay information between a user and a web site that a user is visiting.’
      • ‘These receive signals from the homes and relay them to larger broadcast towers for processing.’
      • ‘Instead of ringing 20 lads, a simple text message is sent to a number, which relays the message to all on the list.’
      • ‘This relays a signal which is picked up by mobile phone transmitters along the rail route.’
      • ‘But it ruled that radio stations could relay the two-way debate, so stations can broadcast it simultaneously.’


Late Middle English (referring to the provision of fresh hounds on the track of a deer): from Old French relai (noun), relayer (verb), based on Latin laxare slacken.

Main definitions of relay in English

: relay1relay2


(also re-lay)


  • [with object] Lay again or differently.

    ‘they plan to relay about half a mile of the track’
    • ‘I understand there is a provision now to make the contractors concerned responsible for any repairs within a specified period after a road has been relaid.’
    • ‘Even the pitch, relaid by the same company who did the Amsterdam Arena before Rangers' 3-1 win against Ajax, was the rich emerald hue of years gone by.’
    • ‘The front drive was too steep, so had to be relaid at a cost of €145,000, and the pool was a nightmare to build,’ he says.’
    • ‘First, he wiped out their debt, then he tidied up the ground, relaid the pitch and went full-time with a host of players from higher divisions.’
    • ‘The 23-year-old said the newly relaid Interlagos track was awash with rivers of water after being hit by a torrential downpour.’
    • ‘The pitch at Old Trafford has not been relaid since 2003, and only nine square inches of turf have needed replacing this season.’
    • ‘The damage caused by the Berkshire train crash is so bad that the whole section of track will have to be relaid.’
    • ‘Claudio Caniggia had started brightly on the right flank but, 16 minutes into the game, a body check by Sutton had sent him sprawling to the newly relaid Hampden turf.’
    • ‘Council contractors provided fencing to keep the area secure and the surface will now be relaid.’
    • ‘Newcastle relaid their pitch this season and Liverpool last year - but that is nothing compared with Dutch club Ajax who have had 26 surfaces in recent years, replacing their pitch up to five times a season.’
    • ‘Flower beds which border the entrance to the park on Bolton Road will be replanted and damaged footpaths will be relaid to attract visitors back to the park.’
    • ‘When Smithfield's 400,000 cobblestones were being lifted, cleaned and relaid by hand as part of regeneration, the fair temporarily relocated to Grangegorman.’
    • ‘Mr Rix said: ‘The developers agree that Market Way will be relaid because there has been cracking which results in hazards for users.’’
    • ‘Too far apart, the gaps are filled with ugly black tar: what a shame the job wasn't done by the people who relaid Foss Bridge in York with such care last year.’
    • ‘It was not long ago that, at enormous expense, the pavement was relaid and now we have Tarmac extensions!’
    • ‘It's a fantastic stadium and I recall Bolton had just relaid their pitch.’
    • ‘‘There were a few accidents with people tripping up on the flag stones, but this really doesn't look nice and I think it would have been better if the flags had been relaid,’ he said.’
    • ‘The corner of the gardens beside the river that leads through to South Esplanade has been relaid with new York stone paving and, near Skeldergate Bridge, the first drainage channels have been cut into the riverbank.’
    • ‘Roads should be relaid properly and not allowed to get into the disgraceful state which Bradford roads currently find themselves.’