rel·​a·​tive·​ly | \ ˈre-lə-tiv-lē \

Definition of relatively

: to a relative degree or extent : somewhat a relatively small group of people relatively cool weather The house is relatively new.
relatively speaking
1 : when compared to others that are similar The procedure was quick, relatively speaking. Relatively speaking, the movie wasn't bad.
2 used to say that something is true or correct as a general statement even if it is not entirely true or correct The trip was, relatively speaking, a disaster.

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Examples of relatively in a Sentence

these newly acquired in-laws felt relatively comfortable at our family reunion

Recent Examples on the Web

Such container losses get lots of publicity but are relatively rare in the shipping business. Costas Paris, WSJ, "MSC Megaship Loses 270 Containers in Rough North Sea Waters," 3 Jan. 2019 Believe it or not, hanging swing chairs from the ceiling of your home is relatively easy and doesn't take up too much time. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "People Are Putting Swings In Their Kitchens And Dining Rooms—And They Look Amazing," 24 Oct. 2018 Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told Newsweek that even though instances of sharks attacking humans are still relatively rare, the number of incidents are going up. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "A Man Died After Being Attacked By a Shark on a Cape Cod Beach," 16 Sep. 2018 Pediatric strokes, though, are relatively rare — the risk of stroke from birth through age 18 is about 11 in 100,000 children per year, according to the National Stroke Association. Kerry Cromwell, Good Housekeeping, "My Little Boy Was Just 7 Years Old When He Had a Catastrophic Stroke," 26 July 2018 When country music radio host Bobby Bones and his partner Sharna Burgess were crowned champions (after receiving relatively low scores throughout the season), many viewers at home threatened to stop watching the dance show altogether. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Dancing With the Stars' Will Not Return This Spring After Bobby Bones's Controversial Win," 13 Dec. 2018 After coming forward to testify against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in September, Christine Blasey Ford has kept a relatively low profile. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Christine Blasey Ford Supports Another Sexual Assault Survivor In Her First Public Statement Since Kavanaugh Hearing," 12 Dec. 2018 Sea ice keeps a lid on the warmer (relatively speaking) seas. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Greenland’s melting snow makes new hockey stick (graph)," 9 Dec. 2018 Pippa has kept a relatively low profile throughout her pregnancy, which was announced in April right before her nephew Prince Louis' birth. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Pippa Middleton Has Given Birth to a Baby Boy," 16 Oct. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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The first known use of relatively was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of relatively

: when compared to others

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Comments on relatively

What made you want to look up relatively? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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