\ 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

In the last year, Deutsche Bank has also been burdened by investigations of lax money laundering controls and has been under intense scrutiny by regulators in the United States and Europe. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Deutsche Bank Scales Back Ambitions, Announcing Job Cuts and Reorganization," 7 July 2019 In the last year, Deutsche Bank has also been battered by accusations of lax money-laundering controls and has been under intense scrutiny by regulators in the United States and Europe. Jack Ewing,, "Long-ailing Deutsche Bank will lose 18,000 jobs in overhaul," 7 July 2019 The rest of the rare earths industry is dominated by China, where labor costs are cheaper and environmental standards more lax. Pamela Boykoff, CNN, "This company is America's best chance to loosen China's grip on rare earths," 3 July 2019 But many conservatives complain that that test has been applied in a lax way, so that any statute delegating any scope of authority appears to satisfy it. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "The Supreme Court Is One Vote Away from Changing How the U.S. Is Governed," 3 July 2019 Other developers tell similar tales of Facebook’s lax attitude toward user data and their own naïve complicity. Frank Bajak, The Mercury News, "Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal: Data scientist drops lawsuit," 2 July 2019 Fire officials cautioned that those who buy fireworks in Mexico should be aware that they may be manufactured with lax quality control or regulatory oversight. Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Officials remind revelers that setting off your own fireworks is illegal — and can be dangerous," 1 July 2019 But viability and burden are somewhat vague concepts and can be interpreted in restrictive or lax ways depending on the lawmaker’s intent. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Elizabeth Warren says abortion access should be a federal law. What does that mean?," 26 June 2019 Lax oversight by the city Whalen also benefited from lax city oversight of the homes his companies rented out. Tony Cook, Indianapolis Star, "Renters lived 'horrible.' Their landlord lived large. The government helped him do it.," 26 June 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.

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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

12 Jul 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

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