rely

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Related to relying: relaying

rely on

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.
See also: on, rely

rely on the kindness of strangers

A reference to the final words of Blanche DuBois, a character in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams: "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
1. To depend on the generosity and goodwill of those around us, especially those we don't know personally. Many of us these days choose or have to leave home in search of work. Without friends and family around us, we must rely on the kindness of strangers. When I was in my twenties, I used to travel the world with nothing but a backpack full of clothes, relying on the kindness of strangers to get by each day.
2. To depend on outside support or assistance, especially financially. As the company's long-term outlook worsens, they are having to rely more and more on the kindness of strangers to remain operational. Basing our country's economy on cross-border trade is a bit like relying on the kindness of strangers at times—it can dry up when economic issues hit on a global scale and other countries start spending less.
See also: kindness, of, on, rely, stranger

rely upon (someone or something)

1. To be dependent on someone or something; to require someone or something for support or help. (Slightly more formal and old-fashioned than the variant "rely on.") There are a lot of cities around the country that rely upon the steel industry—if it collapses, so do their entire economies. You can't just rely upon your parents to bail you out whenever you get into trouble.
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 upon the weather to turn foul whenever you plan something outdoors. People who rely upon the government to act in their best interests are naïve, foolish, or both. I just can't rely upon this computer to do what it's supposed to do.
See also: rely, upon
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?
See also: on, rely
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

rely on

v.
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.
See also: on, rely
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.
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