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 This one doesn’t relate to page speed optimization, but factors that further improve interaction and conversion rates should not be overlooked. Yec, Forbes, "How Google’s Page Experience Update Announcement Can Benefit Search Engine Optimization," 12 Apr. 2021 Republicans, none of whom voted for the package, say the package is too big and much of it doesn't directly relate to COVID-19. Grace Segers and Jack Turman contributed reporting. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Biden says "we have to act" on gun control and calls on Senate to close background check loophole," 24 Mar. 2021 One year into fussing with Zoom backgrounds, who can’t relate to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B twerking in front of a digital wallpaper of purses, diamonds, big-rig trucks, and the rappers’ own faces? Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Why White Musicians Keep Dedicating Their Grammys to Black Artists," 15 Mar. 2021 The duchess' complaint did not relate to the personal nature of Morgan's attacks. Max Foster, CNN, "Meghan formally complained to ITV about Piers Morgan's comments," 10 Mar. 2021 Boston was a heavily white city at the time, and O’Grady said her class-conscious parents didn’t relate to many of the African Americans there, including upper-class Black Bostonians. Jillian Steinhauer, Vulture, "More than four decades into her trailblazing career, Lorraine O’Grady finally has the world’s attention.," 2 Mar. 2021 Critics say the bill includes too many Democratic policy initiatives that do not relate directly to roads, bridges and other traditional forms of infrastructure, and Republicans oppose raising taxes on corporations to help pay for the programs. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, "Kamala Harris turns road warrior for the Biden infrastructure and jobs plan," 19 Apr. 2021 There are some details that feel lived-in, especially the things that relate to Chad’s Persian background, but the high school of it all lacks specificity. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, "Chad Tests the Limits of How Funny Awkward Can Be," 6 Apr. 2021 Some apps, such as an email program, may also add their own information to the index to speed up searches that relate to that app. Ken Colburn, The Arizona Republic, "Does Windows 10 search indexing slow down your computer? Here's what you should know," 29 Mar. 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 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

Comments on relate

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