relative

noun
rel·​a·​tive | \ ˈre-lə-tiv How to pronounce relative (audio) \

Definition of relative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a word referring grammatically to an antecedent
2 : a thing having a relation to or connection with or necessary dependence on another thing
3a : a person connected with another by blood or affinity
b : an animal or plant related to another by common descent
4 : a relative term

relative

adjective

Definition of relative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : introducing a subordinate clause qualifying an expressed or implied antecedent a relative pronoun also : introduced by such a connective a relative clause
2 : relevant, pertinent matters relative to world peace
3 : not absolute or independent : comparative the relative isolation of life in the country
4 : having the same key signature used of major and minor keys and scales
5 : expressed as the ratio of the specified quantity (such as an error in measuring) to the total magnitude (such as the value of a measured quantity) or to the mean of all the quantities involved

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Synonyms & Antonyms for relative

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

  • nonrelative

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of relative in a Sentence

Noun At the family reunion, I saw relatives I haven't seen in years. He inherited a small piece of land from a distant relative. The donkey is a relative of the horse. Adjective the relative value of two houses the relative positions of the islands We discussed the relative merits of each school. “Who,” “whom,” “whose,” “which,” and “that” are all relative pronouns. The phrase “that won” in “the book that won” is a relative clause.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Whitten went to his niece’s school to talk to her after learning of a Child Protective Services investigation, one relative said. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2021 But a relative of Bennett said in a court filing that Bennett broke up with Williams in February and moved back to North Carolina before his arrest warrant was issued. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, 14 May 2021 The foster children were removed from the home, and the five Ridener children were placed with a relative. Holly V. Hays, The Indianapolis Star, 7 May 2021 A few miles away, Majali’s cousin, Sheikh Samir Majali, was arrested from the street, one relative said. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Apr. 2021 Hill left her Hooper Bay home about a year ago and was homeless by choice, a relative previously said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Jan. 2021 Sylla’s funeral prayers were scheduled for Monday afternoon at an Islamic school in Kenner, a relative said. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, 1 Dec. 2020 When the last relative had said goodbye, the man died. USA Today, 21 Oct. 2020 The mother of a South Carolina elementary school teacher who died from Covid-19 last month shared the same fate as her daughter a few weeks later, a relative said. NBC News, 3 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While the House is currently in recess, there has been relative silence from the GOP about Gaetz — other than fellow Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jim Jordan, who have publicly proclaimed their support for him. Julian Zelizer, CNN, 3 June 2021 Emerging from two years of relative silence, former House Speaker Paul Ryan has joined the fight against Donald Trump, urging fellow conservatives to reject the former president's divisive politics and those Republican leaders who emulate him. Steve Peoples, ajc, 28 May 2021 Emerging from two years of relative silence, former House Speaker Paul Ryan has joined the fight against Donald Trump, urging fellow conservatives to reject the former president's divisive politics and those Republican leaders who emulate him. Steve Peoples, Star Tribune, 28 May 2021 Some Israeli officials worried that the relative early silence forecast a chillier relationship between the two close allies after former President Donald Trump's warm embrace. Mike Balsamo And Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, 25 May 2021 Some Israeli officials worried that the relative early silence forecast a chillier relationship between the two close allies after former President Donald Trump’s warm embrace. Mike Balsamo And Aamer Madhani, chicagotribune.com, 25 May 2021 After a few months of relative silence, the former president has reemerged as the GOP’s dominant national figure, mostly by attacking any dissident Republican rash enough to defy him. Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2021 Democratic supporters share that sentiment, and have been critical of the Biden administration’s relative silence amid a growing civilian toll in Gaza. Jessica Donati, WSJ, 19 May 2021 In the interim thirteen months since the article was published, PsiQuantum has maintained relative silence. Paul Smith-goodson, Forbes, 10 May 2021

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for relative

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for relative

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relative. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for relative

relative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of relative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a member of your family
: something that belongs to the same group as something else because of shared characteristics, qualities, etc.

relative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of relative (Entry 2 of 2)

: compared to someone or something else or to each other
: seeming to be something when compared with others
grammar : referring to a noun, a part of a sentence, or a sentence that was used earlier

relative

noun
rel·​a·​tive | \ ˈre-lə-tiv How to pronounce relative (audio) \

Kids Definition of relative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person connected with another by ancestry or marriage

relative

adjective

Kids Definition of relative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : existing in comparison to something else What is the relative value of the two houses?
2 : relevant Please ask questions relative to the topic.

Other Words from relative

relatively adverb It's been a relatively dry year.

relative

adjective
rel·​a·​tive

Legal Definition of relative

1 : not absolute
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : having or allowing some legal effect a relative impediment a relative simulation — see also relative nullity at nullity

Other Words from relative

relatively adverb

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