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 Morehouse recently received a $40 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to work with communities of color in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. NBC News, "A bill would spend $1 billion on diversifying medical schools to close the racial health gap," 5 Aug. 2020 An appraisal of the life and work of James Baldwin and their meaning in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Trump presidency. New York Times, Star Tribune, "New York Times bestsellers," 4 Aug. 2020 Two teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 have also died in the state, according to state data, bringing the total number of minors in Florida who have died in relation to the virus to seven. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "There's still a long way to go in the pandemic, WHO official says, while US tops 155,000 deaths," 4 Aug. 2020 With last weekend’s renewal of a state order that requires coronavirus testing within 72 hours of a contact sports event, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted downplayed what that means in relation to high school sports this fall. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Lt. Gov. Jon Husted downplays coronavirus testing mandate in relation to Ohio high school sports," 4 Aug. 2020 Swan pointed out that Mr. Trump was focusing on the proportion of U.S. deaths to the country's total cases — rather than the proportion of deaths in relation to the U.S. population, which reveals a grimmer toll. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Trump on 1,000 Americans a day dying from COVID-19: "It is what it is"," 4 Aug. 2020 But these two questions are rarely asked in relation to the other. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, "The Greatest Love Story in Black Is King Is Between Beyoncé & Kelly," 3 Aug. 2020 Additionally, scientists can document where the fish position during different seasons, weather conditions and in relation to various habitats. Matt Williams, Dallas News, "Project may help anglers outwit fish," 1 Aug. 2020 The discipline of systemic psychology, which owed a great deal to the work of the anthropologist Gregory Bateson, elaborated similar ideas: families, communities, individuals could be understood in relation to distinct value systems. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books, "The Fiction of Winners & Losers," 28 July 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

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 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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