From Middle French relai (“reserve pack of hounds”), from relaier (“to exchange tired animals for fresh”); literally, "to leave behind", from Old French relaier (“to leave behind”), from re- + laier (“to leave”), of uncertain origin.
relay (plural relays)
- (hunting, now rare) A new set of hounds. [from 15th c.]
- (now chiefly historical) A new set of horses kept along a specific route so that they can replace animals that are tired. [from 17th c.]
- (by extension) A new set of anything.
- Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son
- There is a snaky gleam in her hard grey eye, as of anticipated rounds of buttered toast, relays of hot chops, worryings and quellings of young children, sharp snappings at poor Berry, and all the other delights of her Ogress's castle.
- A series of vehicles travelling in sequence. [from 18th c.]
- (athletics) A track and field discipline where runners take turns in carrying a baton from start to finish. Most common events are 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter competitions. [from 19th c.]
- (electronics) An electrical actuator that allows a relatively small electrical voltage or current to control a larger voltage or current. [from 19th c.]
a new set of anything that can be used to relieve the existing set when worn out
relay (third-person singular simple present relays, present participle relaying, simple past and past participle relayed)
- (obsolete, intransitive, hunting) To release a new set of hounds. [15th-17th c.]
- (transitive, now rare) To place (people or horses) in relays, such that one can take over from another. [from 18th c.]
- (intransitive, now rare) To take on a new relay of horses; to change horses. [from 19th c.]
- (transitive) To pass on or transfer (information). [from 19th c.]
The CCTV cameras relay what's going on to the headquarters.
Can you relay this message to John?
to place (people or horses) in relays
to pass on or transfer (information)
re- + lay
relay (third-person singular simple present relays, present participle relaying, simple past and past participle relaid)
- Alternative spelling of re-lay