relation

noun

re·​la·​tion ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio)
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
4
a(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
7
a
: the state of being mutually or reciprocally interested (as in social or commercial matters)
b relations plural
(1)
: dealings, intercourse
foreign relations

Example Sentences

The incident led to tense international relations.
Recent Examples on the Web Tehran has executed at least four people in relation to the protests, while at least 520 demonstrators have been killed, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Katerina Ang, Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2023 The hearing was in relation to a second set of charges against Spacey that were made in November. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 13 Jan. 2023 Expensive: Growth stocks are typically high priced, particularly in relation to their present earnings. Mia Taylor, Fortune, 12 Jan. 2023 Changes in historical temperatures are in relation to the year 1900, while projected temperature changes are in reference to the temperature change at the start of each projection period. Laura Paddison, CNN, 12 Jan. 2023 Officials in Pima County have released more details, videos and recordings in relation to a Tucson police shooting that killed a man in early December. The Arizona Republic, 10 Jan. 2023 British talk show personality Graham Norton offered a thoughtful response about the concept that went viral when asked about it in relation to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who continuously comes under fire for spreading anti-trans rhetoric. Nick Romano, EW.com, 9 Jan. 2023 Howard is the most recent person sentenced in relation to the protests. Drew Dawson, Journal Sentinel, 7 Jan. 2023 Place one foot up onto the bench, then get into a position where your front foot is planted on the floor with a vertical shin (in relation to the ground). Men's Health, 6 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near relation

Cite this Entry

“Relation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relation. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

relation

noun
re·​la·​tion ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio)
1
: the act of telling or describing
2
: connection sense 2, relationship
the relation of employer to employee
3
: a related person : relative
4
: reference entry 1 sense 2, respect
in relation to this matter
5
a
: the state of sharing an interest (as in social or business matters)
b
plural : business or public affairs
good trade relations
foreign relations
c
plural : dealings between persons or groups
improved his relations with his family
relational
-shnəl
-shən-ᵊl
adjective

Medical Definition

relation

noun
re·​la·​tion ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio)
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 phenotypeAnne M. Glazier et al.
2
: the attitude or stance which two or more persons or groups assume toward one another
race relations
3
a
: the state of being mutually or reciprocally interested (as in social matters)
b
relations plural : sexual intercourse
testified that relations had occurredNewsweek
relational adjective

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