re·lax | \ ri-ˈlaks \
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

Synonyms & Antonyms for relax


ease, loosen, slack, slacken


strain, stretch, tense, tension, tighten

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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

Keep to this consistent routine as much as possible, and if your child is resistant to naps, get them to at least lie down and relax. Mary Caldwell, ajc, "Parent's survival guide to preschool," 10 July 2018 Hold for 10 to 15 deep, even breaths, then relax your body to the starting position., "A beginner's guide to starting a yoga practice," 10 July 2018 Competitive eaters have developed various techniques for relaxing these muscles. Amy Kraft, CBS News, "How competitive eaters do it – and what it does to them," 4 July 2018 As a result, Wimbledon officials are forced to relax their rigid rules of Centre Court that hold that spectators must switch off their phones and devices during play. Sam Farmer,, "England riding high on World Cup success as Wimbledon also creates a racket," 11 July 2018 The duo were spotted sharing a kiss while relaxing on a beach looking healthy and well. Fox News, "Johnny Depp's son Jack looks healthy on beach trip amid reports of 'serious illness'," 10 July 2018 Many of the posts used a recent photo of Selena relaxing on a yacht looking gorgeous and very carefree. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Twitter Is Celebrating That Selena Gomez Will Never Ever Date Justin Bieber Again," 9 July 2018 In the image, Salem appears to be super chill, relaxing on the sand in a fiery red one-piece suit. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Model Salem Mitchell Responds To a Commenter Who Called Her “Ghetto”," 9 July 2018 The 1,500-square-foot property spans two levels and features plenty of space to relax at sea indoors or outdoors—we’re eyeing that spacious outdoor terrace. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Luxe Danish houseboat with terrace yours for $925K," 29 June 2018

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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Statistics for relax

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for relax

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

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More Definitions for relax



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 \
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 \

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

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


characteristic trappings or dress

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