Meaning of “rest” in the English Dictionary

"rest" in British English

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uk /rest/ us /rest/

rest verb (STOP)

B1 [ I or T ] to (cause someone or something to) stop doing a particular activity or stop being active for a period of time in order to relax and get back your strength:

The doctor told him that he should rest for a few days.
He looked away from the computer screen to rest his eyes.
She promised that she would not rest (= would not stop looking) until the murderer of her son was caught and imprisoned.
See also
be resting informal

to be an actor who does not have any work:

Over 90 percent of professional actors are resting at any given time.
I rest my case also my case rests specialized

said by lawyers in a law court when they have finished the explanation of their case

More examples

  • "You look tired - you should go home and rest." "I'm going to do precisely that."
  • My doctor said I was looking run-down and ought to take some time to rest.
  • We travelled by night and rested by day.
  • She was told to stay in bed to rest her injured back.
  • Feeling tired-out is Nature's way of telling you to rest.

rest verb (SUPPORT)

[ I or T, usually + adv/prep ] to lie or lean on something, or to put something on something else so that its weight is supported:

She rested her head on my shoulder.
The bicycle was resting against the wall.

More examples

  • She sat behind the table, her chin resting in her hands.
  • They rested the mirror against the wall.
  • The dome rests on four marble columns.
  • He rested his head on the cushion.
  • The elephants were standing in a line with their front legs resting on each other's backs.


uk /rest/ us /rest/

rest noun (OTHER PART)

the rest [ S, + sing/pl verb ]

More examples

  • You deposit 20% now and pay the rest when the car is delivered.
  • He read her letter aloud to the rest of the family.
  • He's a very good example to the rest of the class.
  • It's a very nice sofa but it doesn't fit in with the rest of the room.
  • One motorbike peeled away from the formation and circled round behind the rest.

A2 the other things, people, or parts that remain or that have not been mentioned:

I've got two bright students, but the rest are average.
I'll keep a third of the money and the rest is for you.
Do you have anything planned for the rest of the day?

rest noun (STOP)

A2 [ C or U ] a period of time in which you relax, do not do anything active, or sleep:

After they had carried the piano up the stairs, they stopped for a rest.
The doctor prescribed some pills and told her to get/have a week's rest.

[ C ] specialized music a period of silence between musical notes, or a symbol that represents this:

a minim rest
at rest

not doing anything active, or not moving:

Her heartbeat is only 55 at rest.

used as a polite way to say that someone is dead:

Your father was a very troubled man, but he's at rest now.
come to rest

to stop, usually in a particular place:

The car hit the kerb, rolled over and came to rest in a ditch.

More examples

  • It's not a good idea to drive for hours without a rest.
  • Chris phoned to say they'd arrived safely, so that really put my mind at rest.
  • After six hours work in the garden, we sat down for a much-needed rest.
  • I'm not tired at the moment but I will need a rest at some stage during the walk.
  • The elderly generally need far less rest than the young, and tend to sleep in several short stretches.

(Definition of “rest” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"rest" in American English

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us /rest/

rest verb (RELAX)

[ I/T ] to stop being active for a period of time in order to relax and get back your strength, or to cause someone or something to stop doing an activity in order to get back strength:

[ I ] We hiked for five miles and then rested for a while.
[ T ] The coach decided to rest some of the team’s starters tomorrow night.
[ T ] I just need to sit down and rest my legs.

rest verb (STAY)

[ I ] to be or stay under the control of a particular person or organization:

The final decision rests with the City Council.

rest verb (SUPPORT)

[ I/T ] to lie or lean on something, or to put something on something else so that its weight is supported:

[ T ] She rested her elbows on the table.


us /rest/

rest noun (MUSIC)

music /rest/ [ C ] a mark in written music that shows when and for how long an instrument should not play

rest noun (OTHER PART)

[ U ] the other things, people, or parts that are left:

I want to do something else with the rest of my life.

rest noun (RELAX)

at rest

At rest means not doing anything active or not moving:

The cat seemed coiled to spring, even when it was at rest.

(Definition of “rest” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)