reliefless, adj.
/ri leef"/, n.
1. alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the removal of pain, distress, oppression, etc.
2. a means or thing that relieves pain, distress, anxiety, etc.
3. money, food, or other help given to those in poverty or need.
4. something affording a pleasing change, as from monotony.
5. release from a post of duty, as by the arrival of a substitute or replacement.
6. the person or persons acting as replacement.
7. the rescue of a besieged town, fort, etc., from an attacking force.
8. the freeing of a closed space, as a tank or boiler, from more than a desirable amount of pressure or vacuum.
9. Feudal Law. a fine or composition which the heir of a feudal tenant paid to the lord for the privilege of succeeding to the estate.
10. Literature.
a. a distinct or abrupt change in mood, scene, action, etc., resulting in a reduction of intensity, as in a play or novel.
b. See comic relief.
11. on relief, receiving financial assistance from a municipal, state, or federal government because of poverty or need.
[1300-50; ME relef < OF relief, deriv. of relever to raise; see RELIEVE]
Syn. 1. mitigation, assuagement, comfort. 3. succor, aid, redress, remedy.
Ant. 1. intensification.
/ri leef"/, n.
1. prominence, distinctness, or vividness due to contrast.
2. the projection of a figure or part from the ground or plane on which it is formed, as in sculpture or similar work.
3. a piece or work in such projection.
4. an apparent projection of parts in a painting, drawing, etc., giving the appearance of the third dimension.
5. Physical Geog. the differences in elevation and slope between the higher and lower parts of the land surface of a given area.
6. Also called relief printing. Print. any printing process, as letterpress or flexography, in which the printing ink is transferred to paper or another printed surface from areas that are higher than the rest of the block.
[1600-10; < F relief and It rilievo; see RELIEF1]

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Public or private aid to people in economic need because of natural disasters, wars, economic upheaval, chronic unemployment, or other conditions that prevent self-sufficiency.

A distinction may be drawn between relief targeting upheavals and natural disasters and relief of chronic social conditions, now usually referred to as welfare. In 17th-century China the government maintained ever-normal granaries for use in the event of famine. Through the 19th century, disaster relief in Europe consisted largely of emergency grants of food, clothing, and medical care through hastily organized local committees. In the 20th century, disaster relief became one of the chief activities of the International Red Cross and other international agencies. Assistance to the needy from public funds has traditionally been strictly limited; in England, the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834 required people able to work to enter a workhouse in order to receive public assistance. The U.S. government responded to the Great Depression with the New Deal, which emphasized work relief programs such as the Works Progress Administration. In the later 20th century, the work requirement was abandoned in most countries, and the needy received direct cash payments, though in the U.S. the movement for welfare reform resulted in the passage in 1996 of "workfare" laws cutting off relief for most able-bodied welfare recipients who failed to find a job or perform community service.

(from Italian, rilievare: "to raise") In sculpture, any work in which the figures project from a supporting background, usually a plane surface.

Bas-reliefs ("low reliefs"), in which the design projects only slightly, were common on the walls of stone buildings in ancient Egypt, Assyria, and elsewhere in the Middle East. High reliefs, in which the forms project at least half or more of their natural circumference, were first employed by the ancient Greeks. Italian Renaissance sculptors combined high and low relief in strikingly illusionistic compositions, as in Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze doors in Florence. Baroque sculptors continued these experiments, often on a larger scale (e.g., Alessandro Algardi's Meeting of Attila and Pope Leo, 1646–53). The dramatic possibilities of the Renaissance concept of relief were later notably employed by François Rude (The Marseillaise, 1833–36) and Auguste Rodin (The Gates of Hell).

Athena mourning, mezzo-relievo from the Acropolis, 5th century BC, in the Acropolis Museum, Athens

Alinari—Art Resource/EB Inc.
(as used in expressions)
bas relief
Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator

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▪ medieval tax
      in European feudalism, in a form of succession duty paid to an overlord by the heir of a deceased vassal. It became customary on the Continent by the Carolingian period (8th–9th century AD). The sum required was either fixed arbitrarily by the lord or agreed between the parties. Gradually, a concept of what constituted a just and reasonable sum emerged, usually the equivalent of one year's revenue from the fief. This was standardized in England at £100 for a barony or honour (large landed fief) and 100 shillings for a knight's fee. Heirs to smaller fiefs might give a knight's horse and equipment.

also called  Relievo 
 (from Italian relievare, “to raise”), in sculpture, any work in which the figures project from a supporting background, usually a plane surface. Reliefs are classified according to the height of the figures' projection or detachment from the background. In a low relief, or bas-relief (basso-relievo), the design projects only slightly from the ground and there is little or no undercutting of outlines (see photograph—>). In a high relief, or alto-relievo, the forms project at least half or more of their natural circumference from the background and may in parts be completely disengaged from the ground, thus approximating sculpture in the round. Middle relief, or mezzo-relievo, falls roughly between the high and low forms. A variation of relief carving, found almost exclusively in ancient Egyptian sculpture, is sunken relief (also called incised relief), in which the carving is sunk below the level of the surrounding surface and is contained within a sharply incised contour line that frames it with a powerful line of light and shade. intaglio, likewise, is a sunken relief but is carved as a negative image like a mold instead of a positive (projecting) form.

      Reliefs on the walls of stone buildings were common in ancient Egypt, Assyria, and other Middle Eastern cultures. The Egyptians (art and architecture, Egyptian) depicted carefully modeled figures standing out from the ground in very low relief; figures are shown standing sideways and are contained within a sharply incised outline. High reliefs first became common in the sculpture of the ancient Greeks, who fully explored the artistic potentialities of the genre. Attic tomb reliefs from the 4th century BC showing individual figures or family groups are notable examples, as are the sculptured friezes used in the decoration of the Parthenon and other classical temples. Relief sculptures were prominent in the sarcophagi of Roman art during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

      During the European Middle Ages the emphasis in sculpture was definitely on relief work. Some of the most outstanding examples decorate the Romanesque portals (tympana) of churches in France, England, and other countries. The Gothic (Gothic art) period continued this tradition but often preferred a higher relief, in accordance with the renewed interest in statuary that characterized the late Middle Ages.

      During the Italian Renaissance the qualities of relief work began to change, as is evident in the famous bronze doors that Lorenzo Ghiberti (Ghiberti, Lorenzo) created for the baptistry of the Cathedral of Florence. The free play between high and low relief and the strikingly illusionistic style of composition in these reliefs show Renaissance artists' new interest in and understanding of space as a subjective visual experience that could be faithfully reproduced. Figures in the foreground of the composition were done in high relief, thus appearing close at hand, while background features were done in low relief, thus approximating distance. Donatello further exploited these experiments, adding textural contrasts between rough and smooth surfaces to the interplay between high and low relief and completely modeling some forms while leaving others in an almost painterly state of incompleteness. Two different trends subsequently became apparent in Italian relief sculpture: delicate and low reliefs in marble and terra-cotta by Desiderio da Settignano and Mino da Fiesole, for example, and the more robust and sculptural relief style used by Bertoldo di Giovanni and later by Michelangelo.

      Baroque (Baroque period) sculptors continued these illusionistic experiments, often on a very large scale. Their large relief compositions became a kind of painting in marble, being set off by deep boxlike frames and special stagelike conditions of lighting. Lorenzo Bernini's “Ecstasy of Santa Theresa,” with figures carved almost fully in the round but encased in a marble altar, offers a most impressive example. Neoclassical artists of the early 19th century temporarily revived experimentation with low reliefs in pursuit of what they saw as classical rigour and purity; such works relied on fine surface modeling and clarity of design for their effect. The works of Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorwaldsen are typical in this regard. But on the whole the Renaissance concept of relief prevailed, and its dramatic and emotive possibilities were keenly and vigorously employed by such subsequent 19th-century sculptors as François Rude in “The Marseillaise” (decorating the Arc de Triomphe in Paris) and by Auguste Rodin in his famous “Gates of Hell” and other reliefs. Relief techniques came to be used in modern 20th-century art for abstract compositions that emphasized spatial recession and contrasts of light and shade. Reliefs were also a feature in Pre-Columbian and Asian Indian sculpture.

      in finance, public or private aid to persons in economic need because of natural disasters, wars, economic upheaval, chronic unemployment, or other conditions that prevent self-sufficiency.

      Through the 19th century, disaster relief consisted largely of emergency grants of food, clothing, and medical care and the provision of mass shelter through hastily organized local committees, often with the aid of voluntary contributions of money or supplies from other communities or countries. In the 20th century, disaster relief became one of the chief activities of the International Red Cross (Red Cross and Red Crescent), originally organized in the 1860s to aid the victims of war.

      Public programs of relief from economic need due to other than natural factors date from the Elizabethan period in England; these early provisions for assistance to the needy from public funds were characterized by strict limitations. Beginning in early times and persisting into the 20th century, there was a strong aversion to giving assistance to able-bodied workers. In England, after the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834, people able to work could receive public assistance only if they entered a workhouse.

      The modern practice of work relief is in part a manifestation of this attitude; the United States work relief programs (notably the Works Progress Administration, later named the Work Projects Administration) in the 1930s were designed to give employment to all needy persons who could work, thus separating them from the unemployable poor. By the late 20th century the work requirement had been abandoned in most countries. In contemporary terminology, relief generally refers to public assistance, comprising benefits, either in money or in kind, given to the indigent who do not qualify for specific assistance programs or social insurance benefits. See social welfare program.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • relief — [ rəljɛf ] n. m. • 1050; de relever « enlever, relever », d apr. l a. forme tonique je relief I ♦ Vx Ce qu on enlève d une table servie. Mod., au plur. ⇒ reste. Les reliefs de la table. « des reliefs d ortolans » (La Fontaine). ♢ Fig. Les reliefs …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • relief — re‧lief [rɪˈliːf] noun 1. [uncountable] when a bad situation is reduced or stops for a time: • Any sign of relief from price pressures will be welcome news for the economy. 2. money, food, clothes etc given to people who are poor or hungry: • a… …   Financial and business terms

  • relief — re·lief n: redress, assistance, or protection given by law esp. from a court should state what relief the plaintiff seeks: as a: release from obligation or duty relief from judgment b: an order from a court granting a particular remedy (as return …   Law dictionary

  • relief — RELIÉF, reliefuri, s.n. 1. Configuraţie a suprafeţei terestre constituită din totalitatea neregularităţilor de forme pozitive sau negative considerate faţă de un plan de referinţă general sau local. 2. Ridicătură, proeminenţă pe o suprafaţă. ♢… …   Dicționar Român

  • relief — Relief. s. m. Bosse eminente en ouvrage de Poterie, de fonte ou de Sculpture. Relief entier ou haut relief, qui est de l épaisseur de toute la figure, demi relief, qui est moins que la moitié des images de relief entier. Ouvrage à demi relief, à… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • relief — Relief, m. acut. Descend du verbe Relever, composé de Re, qui signifie Derechef, et lever, car il se dit d une chose chute, de sorte que Relever est remettre en son estant une chose qui en est deschute. Et se prend Relief ores pour le benefice du …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Relief — Re*lief (r? l?f ), n. [OE. relef, F. relief, properly, a lifting up, a standing out. See {Relieve}, and cf. {Basrelief}, {Rilievi}.] 1. The act of relieving, or the state of being relieved; the removal, or partial removal, of any evil, or of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • relief — ► NOUN 1) a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress. 2) a cause of relief. 3) the action of relieving. 4) (usu. light relief) a temporary break in a generally tense or boring situation. 5) financial or… …   English terms dictionary

  • Relief — Sn Abbildung mit erhabener bzw. vertiefter Oberfläche per. Wortschatz fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. relief m., eigentlich Hervorheben , zu frz. relever hochheben, aufheben , dieses aus l. relevāre, zu l. levāre heben, wegheben,… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • relief — [ri lēf′] n. [ME releef < OFr relief < relever: see RELIEVE] 1. a) an easing, as of pain, discomfort, or anxiety b) a lightening of a burden, as of taxation, oppression, etc. 2. anything that lessens tension or strain, or offers a pleasing… …   English World dictionary

  • Relief — (franz., spr. rölheff, ital. riliēvo), erhabene Arbeit, diejenige Gattung der Bildnerei, welche die Figuren aus einer Ebene oder vertieften Fläche, dem Grunde, erhaben heraustreten läßt. Das R. bildet eine Mittelgattung zwischen der eigentlichen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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