relate

verb

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

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
4
a
: 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
relater noun
or relator
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 It was not known if the attacks were related, a police spokesperson told USA Today Wednesday. Lawrence Yee, Peoplemag, 28 Mar. 2024 Vote goes against advice from the City Attorney's Office The Thursday vote by the zoning committee contradicted advice by Milwaukee's Department of City Development, which argued the zoning question was limited in scope and related only to land use. Journal Sentinel, 15 Mar. 2024 Taff related a story that Harouni’s parents told the rabbi just before their eldest son’s bar mitzvah. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Mar. 2024 And my fellow glass wearers will be able to relate, but the latter is particularly helpful with keeping eyewear free from unwanted droplets. Christina Liao, Travel + Leisure, 21 Feb. 2024 Investigators believe the incidents are related, but have not released details of a suspect or motive. Mark Price, Charlotte Observer, 9 Feb. 2024 Historian John Haldon of Princeton University, who wasn’t involved in the latest research but studies the effects of climate change on history, says the study rightly notes the correlation between climate changes and disease outbreaks without stating they were directly related. Tom Metcalfe, Scientific American, 26 Jan. 2024 During a conversation this week, Homa related it to what the NBA did this year with the in-season tournament and what MLB did last year by introducing the pitch clock. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Jan. 2024 The former president faces 91 criminal charges related in large part to his handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Catherine Lucey, WSJ, 16 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'relate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near relate

Cite this Entry

“Relate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relate. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

relate

verb
re·​late ri-ˈlāt How to pronounce relate (audio)
related; relating
1
: to give an account of : tell
relate a story
2
: to show or establish a relationship between
relate cause and effect
3
: to have relationship or connection : refer
the readings relate to the class discussions
4
: to have or establish a social relationship
the way a child relates to a teacher
5
: to respond especially in a favorable way
can't relate to that kind of music
relatable adjective

Medical Definition

relate

intransitive verb
re·​late ri-ˈlāt How to pronounce relate (audio)
related; relating
: to have meaningful social relationships : interact realistically
an inability to relate emotionally to othersWillow Lawson

More from Merriam-Webster on relate

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