rel·​a·​tiv·​ize | \ ˈre-lə-tə-ˌvīz How to pronounce relativize (audio) \
relativized; relativizing

Definition of relativize

transitive verb

: to treat or describe as relative

Examples of relativize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Supporters of conspiracy myths and opponents of the measures against the pandemic do not even shy away from relativizing the Holocaust. NBC News, "Far-right extremists blamed for surge in anti-Semitic crimes in Germany," 20 Feb. 2020 Such relativizing behavior affects even our most intimate relationships. Matt Ridley, WSJ, "Why Is It So Cool to Be Gloomy?," 15 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relativize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of relativize

1935, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about relativize

Time Traveler for relativize

Time Traveler

The first known use of relativize was in 1935

See more words from the same year

Statistics for relativize

Cite this Entry

“Relativize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Comments on relativize

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!