rel·​a·​tiv·​is·​tic ˌre-lə-ti-ˈvi-stik How to pronounce relativistic (audio)
: of, relating to, or characterized by relativity or relativism
: moving at a velocity such that there is a significant change in properties (such as mass) in accordance with the theory of relativity
a relativistic electron
relativistically adverb

Examples of relativistic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yet relativistic effects don’t usually play a huge role in the chemical behavior of most light elements. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 14 May 2024 Here’s a rundown of some of the big news from the first 24 hours of the meeting which, due to some weird kind of relativistic time dilation, represents about a week for our intrepid reporters. Adam Feuerstein , Matthew Herper, STAT, 1 June 2024 Fascinatingly, relativistic effects, such as time dilation and length contraction, start to happen when speeds exceed one-tenth the speed of light. Isaac Schultz / Gizmodo, Quartz, 2 Apr. 2024 Tracking neutrinos to their source would help astronomers understand the physics behind extreme environments, like the relativistic jets of a blazar, beyond what light alone can tell us. Erika K. Carlson, Discover Magazine, 12 July 2018 So particles are accelerated to relativistic speeds. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 26 Apr. 2023 That nearby gas and plasma can also help reveal how feasting black holes create extreme cosmic structures such as relativistic jets — gigantic beams of superheated plasma accelerated to nearly the speed of light. Michael Greshko, Quanta Magazine, 12 Feb. 2024 But, given that all of this is happening near a supermassive black hole, the researchers hope to continue these simulations with a version of the software that handles relativistic effects better. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 17 Jan. 2024 The quest to reconcile the quantum and relativistic worldviews has occupied physics for decades. Adam Frank, Discover Magazine, 12 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'relativistic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of relativistic was in 1886

Dictionary Entries Near relativistic

Cite this Entry

“Relativistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


rel·​a·​tiv·​is·​tic ˌrel-ət-iv-ˈis-tik How to pronounce relativistic (audio)
: of, relating to, or characterized by relativity
relativistically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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