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

Synonyms & Antonyms for relax



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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 Throughout San Francisco, there are signs of residents beginning to relax their emergency precautions, at least slightly, and enjoy a reward from vaccinations. NBC News, "Herd immunity in the U.S.? San Francisco offers reasons for optimism," 5 May 2021 In some cases, L.A. County’s rules are more specific or stricter than required by the state, and sometimes local officials wait longer than required by the state to relax rules. Los Angeles Times, "What the biggest L.A. County reopening yet allows you to do," 5 May 2021 As unpredictable as the stock market has been, as well as navigating the daily uncertainty of supply chain nightmares, Farley always heads to the track to relax. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Farley heads to the track after earnings, wins back-to-back races in '66 Cobra," 4 May 2021 Federal health officials have urged states not to relax their mitigation measures, warning that the pandemic is far from over. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Fermenting skills, exodus debunked, nurse strike: News from around our 50 states," 9 Mar. 2021 The governors of Texas and Mississippi defied federal government warnings not to relax restrictions or open economies too fast by rescinding mask mandates and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity. Tara John, CNN, "'Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vacciiiine!'," 3 Mar. 2021 As office happy hours have moved to Zoom and pajama pants have become standard working attire, however, one element from the pre-pandemic world needs to stay rigid and not relax in the slightest. Rhett Power, Forbes, "How Businesses Can Mitigate Security Risks In The COVID-19 Era," 28 Feb. 2021 Federal officials warned on Friday the U.S. should not relax health restrictions since case declines might already have started to level off. Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune, "Minnesota's COVID cases are down, but for how long?," 27 Feb. 2021 But despite the encouraging drop in cases, Rutherford echoed Walensky’s comments and said Californians should not relax too much and let down their guard. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, "CDC warns of national rise in cases, but Bay Area is still dropping and counties are reopening," 26 Feb. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on relax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for relax

Nglish: Translation of relax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relax for Arabic Speakers

Comments on relax

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