relate

verb re·late \ ri-ˈlāt \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of relate

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

or relator play \ri-ˈlā-tər\ noun

Examples of relate in a Sentence

  1. You must be feeling awful. I went through something similar myself last year, so I can relate.

  2. We listened eagerly as she related the whole exciting story.

Recent Examples of relate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of relate

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

relate Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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


RELATE Defined for English Language Learners

relate

verb

Definition of relate for English Language Learners

  • : to show or make a connection between (two or more things)

  • : to understand and like or have sympathy for someone or something

  • : to tell (something, such as a story)


RELATE Defined for Kids

relate

verb re·late \ ri-ˈlāt \

Definition of relate for Students

related; relating
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.

Medical Dictionary

relate

intransitive verb re·late \ ri-ˈlāt \

medical Definition of relate

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


Seen and Heard

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