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 relate (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 All of these tips relate to the same thing: valuing the people on your team. Bill Higgs, Forbes, "Spiking The Corporate Ball: 3 Tips For Creating A Winning Culture," 6 Apr. 2021 The Beau Rivage documents relate to a felony charge of soliciting a thing of value from a subordinate. al, "Limestone County sheriff gambled public funds during Biloxi conference, AG says," 6 Apr. 2021 Two of them relate to giving the officiating crew extra help from the instant replay booth., "Use of ‘sky judge’ and changes to overtime period among NFL rules proposals," 1 Apr. 2021 As Jack Coan, Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner jockey for the early lead in the quarterback competition this spring, Davis can relate. Tyler James, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame football: Avery Davis emerges from uncertainty to become leader of receivers," 31 Mar. 2021 Terrific basketball coach; had no clue how to relate to college players. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Mike Woodson is in for rude awakening as Indiana men's basketball coach," 29 Mar. 2021 Those metrics could help explain how personnel costs relate to financial performance, Ms. Peters added. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "Companies Offer Investors a Glimpse at Employee Turnover," 22 Mar. 2021 After all, how would someone more than 30 years older than many of the other cast members be able to form bonds and relate on a social level? Dalton Ross,, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Bob Crowley on how winning the game changed things back home," 11 Mar. 2021 In addition to the pledge, the report also details how Naval leaders can better relate to subordinates and peers. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Navy task force recommends pledge to respect 'intersectional identities' in attempt to combat all forms of discrimination," 14 Feb. 2021

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

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on relate

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