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

Definition of relationship

1 : the state of being related or interrelated studied the relationship between the variables
2 : the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship: such as
a : kinship
b : a specific instance or type of kinship
3a : a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings had a good relationship with his family
b : a romantic or passionate attachment

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Examples of relationship in a Sentence

The relationship between the two countries has improved. She has a close relationship with her sister. She has had many bad relationships. I am not in a relationship right now. the relationship between mental and physical health “What is your relationship to the witness?” “He is my father.”
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Recent Examples on the Web This relationship is symbiotic but ultimately unstable. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Apple’s New Privacy Policy Shaking Up Ad Industry," 22 Apr. 2021 This coach-player relationship hasn't always been pretty. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Look back at Deandre Ayton's late heroics, ahead to homestand finish vs. San Antonio Spurs," 17 Apr. 2021 Is there a discreet way to end this business/client relationship without screwing up my friendship with my high school pal? Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Stylist wants bad client out of her hair, but she’s a close friend of a friend," 17 Apr. 2021 Also, please know that this relationship is newish., "How do we solve the intimacy problem?," 16 Apr. 2021 In this relationship, these two are exposed emotionally, spiritually and physically, meeting every fight and frolic at full bore. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: The sex and debauchery of Fridays is fun, but ‘Monday’ reminds us of the reality," 15 Apr. 2021 While nobody can say for sure what will happen next with this relationship, its trajectory sure is sweet. Megan Decker,, "Well, Travis Barker Got Himself A “Kourtney” Tattoo," 12 Apr. 2021 At least some of this relationship a result of in-school suspensions. Nick Morrison, Forbes, "Cameras Are Being Used To Punish Students, Not Stop School Shooters," 11 Apr. 2021 Probably shouldn’t question his loyalty to you and this relationship. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "After 3 years, my boyfriend still says he’s not ready to move in together. What does that say about our future?," 10 Apr. 2021

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

1741, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for relationship

Time Traveler

The first known use of relationship was in 1741

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Statistics for relationship

Last Updated

26 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relationship.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for relationship



English Language Learners Definition of relationship

: the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other
: a romantic or sexual friendship between two people
: the way in which two or more people or things are connected


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

Kids Definition of relationship

1 : the state of being related or connected
2 : connection by common ancestry or marriage
3 : the state of interaction between two or more people, groups, or countries The sisters have a close relationship.


re·​la·​tion·​ship | \ -shən-ˌship How to pronounce relationship (audio) \

Medical Definition of relationship

1 : the state of being related or interrelated research into the relationship between diet, blood, cholesterol levels, and coronary heart diseaseCurrent Biography
2a : a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings called on to assume the role of personal advisor in the doctor-patient relationshipJournal of the American Medical Association
b : an emotional attachment between individuals a meaningful relationship

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Comments on relationship

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