\ ˈlaks \

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 \ noun
laxly \ ˈlaks-​lē \ 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 Cambridge Analytica breach happened because of Facebook’s lax oversight of developers and data sharing; today’s issue happened because of another breakdown in communication between Facebook and developers. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Facebook exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos to developers in latest leak," 14 Dec. 2018 At least 12,000 people die each year in road accidents often blamed on faulty vehicles, reckless driving and lax traffic enforcement. Julhas Alam, Fox News, "Police, protesters clash in Bangladesh capital; many injured," 4 Aug. 2018 Universities that handle uranium often have lax security. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018 This leak, coming only days after the lax security at Securus was exposed, demonstrates how little companies throughout the wireless ecosystem value Americans’ security. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Website leaked real-time location of most US cell phones to almost anyone," 17 May 2018 Many lawsuits followed, with inmates alleging poor sanitation, abusive guards and lax security that subjected inmates to beatings and rape by other inmates. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Grand jury reports a filthy, crowded Jackson County jail. Where's the money going? | The Kansas City Star," 11 May 2018 After the child’s death, Smith filed an April 6 lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages from G6 Hospitality and Smit Inc., alleging that a broken gate latch at the pool and lax security caused his daughter's death, the Lufkin Daily News reports. Jared Gilmour, star-telegram, "Dad slept as toddler wandered Motel 6. It happened again — and a child died, Texas cops say | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 7 May 2018 Two federation board members, also speaking on condition of anonymity, painted a picture of a complex network of interests between the federation, the government and sponsors that resulted in lax rules in Grozny. Hamza Hendawi And Samy Magdy, Fox News, "Salah takes on Egyptian federation over World Cup debacle," 30 Aug. 2018 Thanks to a few lax eligibility rules, Jeffrey also had three players who were not U.S. citizens. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Soccer star's death recalls biggest U.S. win in World Cup history," 18 June 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

11 Jan 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

: not careful enough : not strict enough


\ ˈlaks \

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 \

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 gather or build up little by little

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