\ ˈlaks How to pronounce lax (audio) \

Definition of lax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a of the bowels : loose, open
b : having loose bowels
2 : deficient in firmness : not stringent lax control a lax foreman security has been lax
3a : not tense, firm, or rigid : slack a lax rope
b : having an open or loose texture a lax soil
c : having the constituents spread apart a lax flower cluster
4 : articulated with the muscles involved in a relatively relaxed state (such as the vowel \i\ in contrast with the vowel \ē\)



Definition of lax (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from lax


laxation \ lak-​ˈsā-​shən How to pronounce laxation (audio) \ noun
laxly \ ˈlaks-​lē How to pronounce laxly (audio) \ adverb
laxness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for lax


negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss mean culpably careless or indicative of such carelessness. negligent implies inattention to one's duty or business. negligent about writing a note of thanks neglectful adds a more disapproving implication of laziness or deliberate inattention. a society callously neglectful of the poor lax implies a blameworthy lack of strictness, severity, or precision. a reporter lax about accurate quotation slack implies want of due or necessary diligence or care. slack workmanship remiss implies blameworthy carelessness shown in slackness, forgetfulness, or neglect. had been remiss in their familial duties

Examples of lax in a Sentence


The university has been lax about enforcing these rules. lax parents who let their kids stay out as late as they want

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The agency's approval process for Boeing's aircraft has been criticized as lax, and members of the agency were recently grilled during a Senate hearing over that very same matter. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Report: Ethiopian Airlines Pilots Followed Boeing's Safety Procedures But Couldn't Prevent Crash," 3 Apr. 2019 Carillion was able to hide nearly half a billion pounds in liabilities due to lax accounting rules, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. later said. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "U.K. Lawmakers Propose ‘Structural Break-Up’ of Big Four Accounting Firms," 2 Apr. 2019 Just this month, the attorney general of Washington, DC, filed suit against Facebook alleging the scandal had resulted from lax privacy standards. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 Negotiated over three years during TTIP talks and signed by the U.S. the day before Mr. Trump took office, the agreement was built on a 1998 pact that U.S. regulators refused to implement due to concerns about lax standards in some EU countries. Emre Peker, WSJ, "U.S., EU Trade Teams Seek Fast Results and Big Savings," 21 Oct. 2018 Was Grenfell a tragic accident, the product of government cost-cutting and lax safety standards, or authorities' disregard for people who lived in public housing? Fox News, "A year on, horrific Grenfell Tower fire haunts Britain," 14 June 2018 Was Grenfell a tragic accident, the product of government cost-cutting and lax safety standards, or authorities' disregard for people who lived in public housing? Jill Lawless,, "A year on, Grenfell Tower 'atrocity' haunts Britain," 14 June 2018 Corruption and lax fire safety standards at the Winter Cherry shopping mall may have been to blame and both relatives and locals are enraged at the response to the tragedy. St. John Barned-smith, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County public safety agencies to receive boats to handle future flooding," 6 June 2018 For years, Tumblr had allowed communities that promoted and shared adult content freely, thanks to Tumblr’s arguably lax approach to the monitoring of adult content. Sydney Greene, Teen Vogue, "How Tumblr's Porn Ban Could Put Sex Workers at Risk," 6 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lax


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lax


Middle English, from Latin laxus loose — more at slack


by shortening & alteration (x as symbol for -crosse)

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Dictionary Entries near lax

lawyer palm

lawyer up

lawyer vine





Statistics for lax

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lax

The first known use of lax was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lax



English Language Learners Definition of lax

disapproving : not careful enough : not strict enough


\ ˈlaks How to pronounce lax (audio) \

Kids Definition of lax

1 : not firm or tight : loose The straps were lax.
2 : not stern or strict lax discipline

Other Words from lax

laxness noun


\ ˈlaks How to pronounce lax (audio) \

Medical Definition of lax

1 of the bowels : loose sense 3
2 : having loose bowels

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More from Merriam-Webster on lax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lax

Spanish Central: Translation of lax

Nglish: Translation of lax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lax for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lax

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


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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