relax

verb

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

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)

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Nika's Seeing Hands Massage Therapy Center Between meals and shopping for ingredients, Ros relaxes with a massage. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, 19 Feb. 2024 Red vein kratom made from kratom leaves is also commended for its capacity to encourage calm and lessen anxiety due to its relaxing properties and calming effects. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 16 Feb. 2024 How to relax or get fit while waiting for your flight How much will the county get from the hotel? Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2024 Want to treat yourself or your beloved to a night out on the town and a relaxing hotel stay? Kaeli Conforti, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 During this relaxing session, an expert will guide you through a sleep spa experience to find the perfect mattress. Devorah Lev-Tov, Robb Report, 13 Feb. 2024 Slipping into these to relax after a long day of travel or sightseeing will feel amazing, thanks to the roomy fit of the top and elastic waistband of the bottom. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Travel + Leisure, 12 Feb. 2024 Coach Paul Maurice relaxed at home in Fort Lauderdale and probably ate a little too much at the Greek Festival over the weekend. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 5 Feb. 2024 What better way to relax a garment as sophisticated as a corset than with jeans? Teresa Romero Martínez, Glamour, 4 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near relax

Cite this Entry

“Relax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relax. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

relax

verb
re·​lax ri-ˈlaks How to pronounce relax (audio)
1
: to make or become loose or less tense
relaxed my attention
2
: to make or become less severe or strict
relax discipline
3
: to get rid of nervous tension or anxiety
couldn't relax in crowds
4
: to rest or enjoy oneself away from one's usual duties
relaxed at the beach
relaxer noun

Medical Definition

relax

transitive verb
re·​lax ri-ˈlaks How to pronounce relax (audio)
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

More from Merriam-Webster on relax

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