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 backthe 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


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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 urgency of Steinbeck’s need to relate details of his life to Kate Beswick was remarkable. Vivian Gornick, The New Republic, "The Anti-Social Novelist," 9 Oct. 2020 That larger human sense of longing is something many people can relate to. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Zachary Quinto on Working With an All Openly Gay Cast in The Boys in the Band: “It Felt Like We Were Representing Our Own Lineage”," 1 Oct. 2020 For Hammett, the obituary drew together a virtual circle of support where everyone could relate about the love of a pet. Macon Atkinson, USA TODAY, "South Carolina woman's heartwarming obituary for beloved golden retriever goes viral," 29 Sep. 2020 But Kach said the intent of the bill isn’t to relate hemp to medical cannabis. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii,, "Baltimore County Council considering restrictions on hemp farms," 29 Sep. 2020 Statistics and charts and scientific models can sometimes be hard for people to relate to. Libby Peterson, New York Times, "Capturing the Faces of Climate Migration," 19 Sep. 2020 The viewer is free to relate to these forms not by passively contemplating them as sacred aesthetic objects but by a process of perception and discovery. Helen A. Cooper, WSJ, "Making the Most of Minimalism," 18 Sep. 2020 Today, he is widely respected for his ability to relate to all types of players. Connor Letourneau,, "Oakland’s Brian Shaw embraces chance to coach next generation of NBA prospects," 17 Sep. 2020 So this project was really the brainchild of the president of Johns Hopkins University, Ron Daniels, who has made an effort across his career to try to relate academic work to real-world policy challenges. CBS News, "Historian Hal Brands on COVID-19's effect on world order," 9 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for relate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for relate

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for relate


How to pronounce relate (audio)

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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Comments on relate

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