relax

verb re·lax \ ri-ˈlaks \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

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)

relaxer

noun

Examples of relax in a Sentence

  1. The muscles in my neck and shoulders should relax after a nice hot shower.

  2. A hot shower relaxed the tight muscles in my neck and shoulders.

  3. I can't relax with all this noise!

  4. Just relax, there's nothing to worry about.

  5. Try to relax and enjoy the ride.

Recent Examples of relax from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of relax

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

relax Synonyms

Synonyms
chill, chill out [slang], decompress, de-stress, loosen up, mellow (out), unwind, wind down, hang loose
Antonyms
tense (up)
Related Words
unbend; bask, kick back, loll, lounge, repose, rest; bum, dally, dawdle, dillydally, drone, footle, goof (off), hack (around), hang (around or out), idle, laze, loaf, vegetate, veg out, zone out; alleviate, comfort, ease, relieve; calm, compose, cool, quiet, settle
Near Antonyms
attach, bind, fasten, tie; constrain, restrain

RELAX Defined for English Language Learners

relax

verb

Definition of relax for English Language Learners

  • : 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


RELAX Defined for Kids

relax

verb re·lax \ ri-ˈlaks \

Definition of relax for Students

relaxed; relaxing
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.

Medical Dictionary

relax

transitive verb 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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