re·​la·​tion | \ ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio) \

Definition of relation

1 : the act of telling or recounting : account
2 : an aspect or quality (such as resemblance) that connects two or more things or parts as being or belonging or working together or as being of the same kind the relation of time and space specifically : a property (such as one expressed by is equal to, is less than, or is the brother of) that holds between an ordered pair of objects
3 : the referring by a legal fiction of an act to a prior date as the time of its taking effect usually used with back
4a(1) : a person connected by consanguinity or affinity : relative
(2) : a person legally entitled to a share of the property of an intestate
b : relationship by consanguinity or affinity : kinship
5 : reference, respect in relation to
6 : the attitude or stance which two or more persons or groups assume toward one another race relations
7a : the state of being mutually or reciprocally interested (as in social or commercial matters)
b relations plural
(1) : dealings, intercourse foreign relations

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Synonyms & Antonyms for relation



  • nonintercourse
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Examples of relation in a Sentence

The incident led to tense international relations. sexual relations outside of marriage
Recent Examples on the Web The state Independent Ethics Commission voted unanimously to find Hickenlooper in violation of the Colorado Constitution and ethics laws last month, specifically in relation to the state's gift ban. Fox News, "Non-profit watchdog files complaint against Hickenlooper's Senate campaign alleging illegal coordination," 11 July 2020 The proper wording is to list pertinent family members in relation to the deceased. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Logistics after a postponed wedding," 11 July 2020 Police arrested five people in relation to the February death of rapper Pop Smoke, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Thursday. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Police arrest five people in connection to rapper Pop Smoke's death," 10 July 2020 Over the course of the call, Smith on multiple times referenced the downward trajectory of society as a whole in relation to COVID-19. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith on college football 2020: ‘I am concerned we may not be able to play'," 9 July 2020 On Monday, the Manhattan district attorney announced plans to prosecute the woman, Amy Cooper (no relation), on a charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Black birdwatcher in Central Park 911 call has not cooperated with prosecutors, NYT reports," 8 July 2020 Appendix Inside the Waistband holsters have regained popularity in recent years, and should be used by more experienced shooters due to the placement of your pistol in relation to arteries and lower extremities. Chris Mudgett, Outdoor Life, "You Just Purchased a Handgun for Personal Defense, Now What?," 1 July 2020 The Brown Beauty Co-Op in Washington, D.C., is seeing a spike in demand from the Buy Black movement, but its owners, Kimberly Smith and Amaya Smith, no relation, are hesitant to hire new employees. Deena Shanker,, "Black Businesses Need More Than Retail Activism to Survive," 27 June 2020 During her comments last week, Robinson mentioned Olivia Robinson (no relation), a 3-year-old girl who died in a drive-by shooting while sitting inside her north Huntsville home. Paul Gattis |, al, "Huntsville councilwoman Jennie Robinson faces backlash for comments on race, police," 18 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relation.' 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 relation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for relation

Middle English relacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin relation-, relatio, from referre (past participle relatus) to carry back

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Time Traveler for relation

Time Traveler

The first known use of relation was in the 14th century

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Statistics for relation

Last Updated

15 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for relation


How to pronounce relation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of relation

: the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other
: the way in which two or more people or things are connected
: a person who is a member of your family


re·​la·​tion | \ ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio) \

Kids Definition of relation

1 : connection sense 2, relationship Doctors studied the relation between sleep and health.
2 : a related person : relative
3 : reference sense 2, respect He'll speak in relation to this matter.
4 relations plural : the interaction between two or more people, groups, or countries foreign relations


re·​la·​tion | \ ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio) \

Medical Definition of relation

1 : an aspect or quality (as resemblance or causality) that connects two or more things or parts as being or belonging or working together, as being of the same kind, or as being logically connected the strong relation between genotype and phenotype— Anne M. Glazier et al
2 : the attitude or stance which two or more persons or groups assume toward one another race relations
3a : the state of being mutually or reciprocally interested (as in social matters)
b relations plural : sexual intercourse testified that relations had occurredNewsweek

Other Words from relation

relational \ -​əl How to pronounce relational (audio) \ adjective

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