re·​late | \ ri-ˈlāt How to pronounce relate (audio) \
related; relating

Definition of relate

transitive verb

1 : to give an account of : tell
2 : to show or establish logical or causal connection between seeks to relate crime to poverty

intransitive verb

1 : to apply or take effect retroactively usually used with back the law relates back to the initial date of decision
2 : to have relationship or connection the readings relate to his lectures
3 : to have or establish a relationship : interact the way a child relates to a teacher
4a : to respond especially favorably can't relate to that kind of music
b : to understand and like or have sympathy for someone or something Those who have experienced the same hardship can relate. characters the reader can easily relate to

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Other Words from relate

relater or relator \ ri-​ˈlā-​tər How to pronounce relator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for relate


bond, click, commune

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Choose the Right Synonym for relate

join, combine, unite, connect, link, associate, relate mean to bring or come together into some manner of union. join implies a bringing into contact or conjunction of any degree of closeness. joined forces in an effort to win combine implies some merging or mingling with corresponding loss of identity of each unit. combined jazz and rock to create a new music unite implies somewhat greater loss of separate identity. the colonies united to form a republic connect suggests a loose or external attachment with little or no loss of identity. a mutual defense treaty connected the two nations link may imply strong connection or inseparability of elements still retaining identity. a name forever linked with liberty associate stresses the mere fact of frequent occurrence or existence together in space or in logical relation. opera is popularly associated with high society relate suggests the existence of a real or presumed logical connection. related what he observed to what he already knew

Examples of relate in a Sentence

You must be feeling awful. I went through something similar myself last year, so I can relate. We listened eagerly as she related the whole exciting story.

Recent Examples on the Web

The law compelled anything related to the assassination to be released 25 years after its passage, a date which fell in October 2017. The Economist, "FBI files suggest MLK was more complicated than his myth," 8 June 2019 Williams asked anyone with information relating to the case contact the police department’s homicide unit at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-245-7777. Ivana Hrynkiw |,, "Birmingham man killed in early-morning domestic dispute," 8 June 2019 If there is a free speech problem on campuses today that needs to be settled by executive order, then a concomitant executive order ought to be issued that there be no federal censorship related to any campus research. Jim Martin, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: CU regents have let Trump’s administration get away with censorship of academic research," 7 June 2019 Moody alleged in his earlier lawsuit that Worth engaged in fraud, self-dealing in violation of his fiduciary duties and negligence relating to Stehling’s assets. Patrick Danner,, "More legal spats erupt between Taco Cabana founder’s heir and financial adviser," 7 June 2019 The Gary Common Council took what may well be its last vote related to a plan to use the city’s Public Safety Building as part of a financial plan to raise money meant to cover municipal government’s debts. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary plans to use the Public Safety building as collateral to pay bills," 7 June 2019 The same state police now searching the MIRA plant were at the park searching for evidence related to the case over multiple days in the week after Jennifer Dulos disappeared. Jon Lender,, "Michelle Troconis returns with police to Farmington home two weeks into search for Jennifer Farber Dulos," 7 June 2019 He is accused of opening fire during an argument related to a drug debt, according to Capt. Michelle Hunter,, "Suspect booked with killing 1 person, wounding 2 and shooting dog: JPSO," 7 June 2019 The union and several workers have also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against more than 70 employers and employment agencies related to age discrimination in recruiting. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "New Evidence of Age Bias in Hiring, and a Push to Fight It," 7 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relate.' 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 relate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for relate

Latin relatus (past participle of referre to carry back), from re- + latus, past participle of ferre to carry — more at tolerate, bear

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Statistics for relate

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for relate

The first known use of relate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for relate



English Language Learners Definition of relate

: to show or make a connection between (two or more things)
: to understand and like or have sympathy for someone or something
formal : to tell (something, such as a story)


re·​late | \ ri-ˈlāt How to pronounce relate (audio) \
related; relating

Kids Definition of relate

1 : to give an account of : narrate Each time he … cawed several times as if he were relating his adventures …— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
2 : to show or have a relationship to or between : connect The events are related. The lesson relates to history.
re·​late | \ ri-ˈlāt How to pronounce relate (audio) \
related; relating

Medical Definition of relate

: to have meaningful social relationships : interact realistically an inability to relate emotionally to others— Willow Lawson

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More from Merriam-Webster on relate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for relate

Spanish Central: Translation of relate

Nglish: Translation of relate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on relate

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


showing courage and determination

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