\ 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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Adjective 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 One is that domestic competition has been weakened by lax antitrust enforcement, anticompetitive practices and regulatory changes friendly to powerful firms. The Economist, "Are anti-competitive firms killing American innovation?," 12 Dec. 2019 Nevada has an urban-rural divide and a libertarian tradition that manifests in its lax approach to gun laws, said Michael Green, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "Gilroy shooting shows how California’s gun laws are undermined by its neighbors," 29 July 2019 Energy experts doubt that Trump’s more lax approach will reverse the coal industry’s decline. Anna M. Phillips, latimes.com, "Trump moves to gut Obama climate policy and bolster the coal industry," 19 June 2019 Media analysts have argued that Facebook's reaction to claims of anti-conservative bias led the company to take a more lax approach to the Russian disinformation campaign. Hamza Shaban, chicagotribune.com, "Facebook is shutting down its troubled 'trending' feature," 1 June 2018 Limited factory oversight and lax regulations allow these issues to persist and can make change seem insurmountable. Vogue, "Alberta Ferretti Photographed Fashionable Mothers and Their Children for Her New Sustainable Collection With Eco-Age," 9 Dec. 2019 Arizona takes some blame Arizona's role in welcoming self-driving vehicles and lax regulation of them was a focus of Tuesday's hearing. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Driver mostly to blame for fatal self-driving Uber crash, federal safety board finds," 19 Nov. 2019 With more lax regulations in place, the county expects to bring in 1,135 of them in the next decade, compared with the 227 that have been permitted in the last 20 years. Caroline Glenn, orlandosentinel.com, "Orange County task force calls for $160 million affordable housing fund," 15 Nov. 2019 Chinese officials deny that, blaming greedy pharmaceutical companies, lax regulation, and out-of-control demand as the reasons America has an opioid abuse crisis. Washington Post, "China sentences 3 in fentanyl trafficking case after US tip," 7 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lax

Time Traveler for lax

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for lax

Last Updated

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lax.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lax. Accessed 27 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lax

How to pronounce lax (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!