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 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 His father further distorted his son’s ability to relate to women by his adulterous behavior. Peter Keough,, "In Focus: On HBO, the rise and fall — and return — of Tiger Woods," 7 Jan. 2021 Your ability to relate to others is best expressed through compassion now. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for December 29, 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 Naturally inquisitive, and always in search of ways to relate to kids these days, Popovich wandered over to engage. Jeff Mcdonald,, "‘He’s very hip:’ How 71-year-old Gregg Popovich is finding ways to bond with his youngest roster ever," 24 Dec. 2020 How does this relate to the 49ers and the 2020 draft? Eric Branch,, "How 49ers’ finish could determine Jimmy Garoppolo’s employer in 2021," 21 Dec. 2020 Aldrete, who is gay and struggled with depression during his childhood, said the challenges in his own life have enabled him to better relate to Cole. Washington Post, "It started as a spontaneous pep-talk. Then this Starbucks barista became a lifeline for a boy with cancer.," 11 Dec. 2020 Does this relate to the mining of resources, the construction of moon bases or even the selection of astronauts? Alexander Stirn, Scientific American, "Do NASA’s Lunar Exploration Rules Violate Space Law?," 12 Nov. 2020 And beyond that, find ways to connect with others who can relate. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "How to Feel Less Lonely When You’ve Lost Your Person," 21 Dec. 2020 Luckily, there are other celebrities who can relate, and Eilish named a handful of big-name mentors like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga, who have offered to talk or give her advice. Natalie Morin,, "Billie Eilish Opens Up About Having An Out Of Body “Identity Crisis”," 30 Nov. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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