Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

relative

play
noun rel·a·tive \ˈre-lə-tiv\

Simple Definition of relative

  • : a member of your family

  • : something that belongs to the same group as something else because of shared characteristics, qualities, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of relative

  1. 1 :  a word referring grammatically to an antecedent

  2. 2 :  a thing having a relation to or connection with or necessary dependence on another thing

  3. 3 a :  a person connected with another by blood or affinity b :  an animal or plant related to another by common descent

  4. 4 :  a relative term

Examples of relative in a sentence

  1. At the family reunion, I saw relatives I haven't seen in years.

  2. He inherited a small piece of land from a distant relative.

  3. The donkey is a relative of the horse.



14th Century

First Known Use of relative

14th century

Other Genetics Terms


2

relative

adjective rel·a·tive

Simple Definition of relative

  • : compared to someone or something else or to each other

  • : seeming to be something when compared with others

  • grammar : referring to a noun, a part of a sentence, or a sentence that was used earlier

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of relative

  1. 1 :  introducing a subordinate clause qualifying an expressed or implied antecedent <a relative pronoun>; also :  introduced by such a connective <a relative clause>

  2. 2 :  relevant, pertinent <matters relative to world peace>

  3. 3 :  not absolute or independent :  comparative <the relative isolation of life in the country>

  4. 4 :  having the same key signature —used of major and minor keys and scales

  5. 5 :  expressed as the ratio of the specified quantity (as an error in measuring) to the total magnitude (as the value of a measured quantity) or to the mean of all the quantities involved

Examples of relative in a sentence

  1. the relative value of two houses

  2. the relative positions of the islands

  3. We discussed the relative merits of each school.

  4. Who, whom, whose, which, and that are all relative pronouns.

  5. The phrase that won in the book that won is a relative clause.



15th Century

First Known Use of relative

15th century



RELATIVE Defined for Kids

1

relative

play
noun rel·a·tive \ˈre-lə-tiv\

Definition of relative for Students

  1. :  a person connected with another by ancestry or marriage




2

relative

play
adjective rel·a·tive

Definition of relative for Students

  1. 1 :  existing in comparison to something else <What is the relative value of the two houses?>

  2. 2 :  relevant <Please ask questions relative to the topic.>

relatively

adverb <It's been a relatively dry year.>



Law Dictionary

relative

adjective rel·a·tive

Legal Definition of relative

  1. 1 :  not absolute

  2. 2 in the civil law of Louisiana :  having or allowing some legal effect <a relative impediment> <a relative simulation> — see also relative nullity at nullity

relatively

adverb




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up relative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a simplified speech bridging languages

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

lazy melancholy philistine frenetic
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ