relation

noun
re·​la·​tion | \ ri-ˈlā-shən \

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

Synonyms

commerce, dealings, interaction, intercourse

Antonyms

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

In the eighth against Julio Santana (no relation), the Twins put two runners on with one out before back-to-back strikeouts. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Revisit a memorable Brewers game 13 years later, when Fielder and Weeks both hit their first Major League home run," 26 June 2018 The disappearance has put pressure on President Donald Trump, who has enjoyed close relations with the Saudis since entering office. Fox News, "Newspaper says Turkey has audio of Saudi writer's slaying," 14 Oct. 2018 But the recent improvement in inter-Korean relations means the South Korean government is probably reluctant to receive former North Korean diplomats, Mr. Kang said. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "North Korean Diplomat in Rome Disappears," 3 Jan. 2019 But the existence of the report speaks to an impending shift in Brazil-Venezuela relations and Maduro’s increasing isolation in the region. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Decoding Bolsonaro’s “make Brazil great” foreign policy," 31 Oct. 2018 His willingness to criticize Mrs. May in her own country only underscored the tensions in his relations with other allied leaders and his unconventional approach to diplomacy. New York Times, "NATO Survives Trump, but the Turmoil Is Leaving Scars," 12 July 2018 In her new position Barnes will continue to represent Park as an ambassador in its government relations and business development initiatives. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "Former KC Mayor Kay Barnes is Park University's new bridge to the community," 3 July 2018 Maduro also this year freed a former Utah missionary jailed for more than two years on weapons charges in a bid to improve relations with the White House. Fox News, "Venezuela's Maduro says he is 'ready' to meet Trump in surprise UN speech," 27 Sep. 2018 According to the documents reported on by Politico, Butina arranged a series of dinners between Russian nationals and Americans with influence in Washington and New York to talk about relations with Russia. Cindy Otis, Teen Vogue, "Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Was Charged With Conspiring Against the United States as a Secret Agent," 18 July 2018

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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Statistics for relation

Last Updated

8 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for relation

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

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More Definitions for relation

relation

noun

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

relation

noun
re·​la·​tion | \ ri-ˈlā-shən \

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

relation

noun
re·​la·​tion | \ ri-ˈlā-shən \

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 \ adjective

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Comments on relation

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