re·​lax | \ ri-ˈlaks How to pronounce relax (audio) \
relaxed; relaxing; relaxes

Definition of relax

transitive verb

1 : to make less tense or rigid : slacken relaxed his grip
2 : to make less severe or stringent : modify relax immigration laws
3 : to deprive of energy, zeal, or strength of purpose
4 : to relieve from nervous tension
5 : to treat (hair) chemically in order to relax curls

intransitive verb

1 : to become lax, weak, or loose : rest
2 : to become less intense or severe hoped the committee would relax in its opposition
3 of a muscle or muscle fiber : to become inactive and lengthen
4 : to cast off social restraint, nervous tension, or anxiety couldn't relax in crowds
5 : to seek rest or recreation relax at the seashore
6 : to relieve constipation
7 : to attain equilibrium following the abrupt removal of some influence (such as light, high temperature, or stress)

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Other Words from relax

relaxer noun

Examples of relax in a Sentence

The muscles in my neck and shoulders should relax after a nice hot shower. A hot shower relaxed the tight muscles in my neck and shoulders. I can't relax with all this noise! Just relax, there's nothing to worry about. Try to relax and enjoy the ride.
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Recent Examples on the Web Two weeks ago, after watching his son struggle in the Warriors’ 39-point loss to Milwaukee on Christmas Day, Juan called Eric from the family home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and told him to relax. Connor Letourneau,, "How Eric Paschall’s move to center is benefitting him and the Warriors," 7 Jan. 2021 Enter a new crop of wellness drinks and tonics—a new beverage trend touting an appealing escape from the endless rat race of trying to relax. Jenny Singer, Glamour, "Wellness Drinks Offer Some of the Benefits of Meditation—In A Can," 6 Jan. 2021 While their former client base was in a hurry, current customers want to relax. Beth D'addono,, "Louise reopens bakery and cafe in Marigny," 4 Jan. 2021 Guests at the hotel will get to relax against desert backdrops and scenic views of nature. Rasha Ali, USA TODAY, "The most-anticipated 2021 hotel openings around the world," 31 Dec. 2020 The portals were designed to be places to relax along the nature area’s 3/4-mile perimeter trail, which runs along the outside of the 100-acre park. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Richardson nature portals and Plano dog park named favorites of 2020 by North Texas construction firm," 28 Dec. 2020 Being in nature seems to give the brain permission to relax and just exist. Sadie Dingfelder, Washington Post, "To cope with the current isolation, she sought refuge outdoors. She wasn’t alone in embracing the benefits.," 28 Dec. 2020 A week ago, Roethlisberger channeled his inner Aaron Rodgers and said in so many words that everyone needed to just relax. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts free live stream (12/27/20): How to watch, TV options, live updates, odds," 27 Dec. 2020 The Detroit Red Wings normally relish the Christmas break, coming right around the midpoint of the season, as a chance to relax and reboot. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Ho, Ho, Hockeytown: A holiday guide to Detroit Red Wings' past, present and future," 26 Dec. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for relax

Middle English, from Latin relaxare, from re- + laxare to loosen, from laxus loose — more at slack

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Time Traveler for relax

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for relax

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for relax


How to pronounce relax (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of relax

: to become or to cause (something) to become less tense, tight, or stiff
: to stop feeling nervous or worried
: to spend time resting or doing something enjoyable especially after you have been doing work


re·​lax | \ ri-ˈlaks How to pronounce relax (audio) \
relaxed; relaxing

Kids Definition of relax

1 : to make or become loose or less tense Relax your muscles. She relaxed her grip on the reins.
2 : to make or become less severe or strict Mom relaxed the rules for the summer.
3 : to become calm and free from stress
4 : to seek rest or enjoyment You can relax at the beach.
re·​lax | \ ri-ˈlaks How to pronounce relax (audio) \

Medical Definition of relax

1 : to slacken or make less tense or rigid alternately contracting and relaxing their muscles
2 : to relieve from nervous tension
3 : to relieve from constipation medications to relax the bowels

intransitive verb

1 of a muscle or muscle fiber : to return to an inactive or resting state especially : to become inactive and lengthen
2 : to cast off social restraint, nervous tension, or anxiety couldn't relax in crowds

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Comments on relax

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