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1. To be dependent on someone or something; to require someone or something for support or help. There are a lot of cities around the country that rely on the steel industry—if it collapses, so do their entire economies. You can't just rely on Jeff to pay your bills all the time. You need to get a job of your own.
2. To have trust or faith in someone or something; to believe that someone will do something or that something will happen. You can always rely on it to start raining sooner or later in this country. People who rely on the government to act in their best interests are naïve, foolish, or both. At this stage in my life, I really just want a romantic partner who will love me for who I am, and whom I know I can always rely on.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
rely (up)on someone or something
to depend on someone or something; to trust in someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) I know I can rely upon you to do a good job. Can we rely on this old car to get us there?
1. To be dependent upon something or someone for support, help, or supply: Some people still rely on coal to heat their houses. He relies on his parents for tuition.
2. To place trust or confidence in someone or something: He was relying on the meeting being canceled and didn't prepare his speech. I can always rely on her to get here on time.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.