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)

Other Words from relax

relaxer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for relax



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Guests can relax and take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Straits of Malacca at the island’s Emerald Bay Beach. Roger Sands, Forbes, 9 June 2022 No more scrolling; just relax, and add this to your cart. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 June 2022 Reading poetry from Rumi tonight to help me relax again. Ghausia Ludwig, Washington Post, 24 May 2022 Thinking about Jérôme running this market would relax me a little. Marta Balaga, Variety, 24 May 2022 And finally, after you’ve sent your truly show-stopping nude, relax. Tom Rasmussen, Vogue, 18 May 2022 Set the mood and relax by the wood-burning stone fireplace. Karen A. Avitabile, Hartford Courant, 29 May 2022 Like Oval Beach, Van Buren State Park offers guests a scenic spot to relax and enjoy the sun, sand and fresh Lake Michigan water. Alec Brzezinski, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2022 Workers were invited to relax with service dogs and take part in a meditation session, in addition to other techniques the hospital system has begun offering regularly to boost staff mental wellness. Helena Oliviero, Anchorage Daily News, 28 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About relax

Time Traveler for relax

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near relax




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for relax

Last Updated

12 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Relax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for relax


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.


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on relax

Nglish: Translation of relax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relax for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!