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.
Recent Examples on the Web The numbers are publicly available by Transparency USA, a database that discloses money in relation to state politics. Sarah Martinez, Chron, 12 Sep. 2021 The number of practising doctors in relation to the population was 2.4 per 1000 inhabitants in 2020, one of the lowest rates among OECD countries, and well below the EU average of 3.8. Lidia Kurasinska, Forbes, 11 Sep. 2021 None of the other 14 members of the Milwaukee Common Council are expected to be charged in relation to the criminal case filed Tuesday against Ald. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Sep. 2021 According to the system of feng shui, the best spot for your bed is the command position, which refers to its location in relation to the door. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Sep. 2021 On Thursday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced Johnson would face a felony charge of violating her oath of office and a misdemeanor charge of hindering a law enforcement officer in relation to Arbery’s death. Essence, 3 Sep. 2021 Data regulators from eight other European countries triggered a dispute resolution mechanism after Ireland shared its provisional decision in relation to the WhatsApp inquiry, which started in December 2018. NBC News, 2 Sep. 2021 See the map showing the perimeters of all the national forestlands that have been shut down in relation to active fire here. Jessica Flores, John King, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Sep. 2021 Mrozak isn't the first tourist to have been arrested for presenting false information in relation to COVID-19. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near relation

relate to



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Statistics for relation

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for relation



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


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 relation (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on relation

Nglish: Translation of relation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about relation


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