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

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 But transplant centers have been relaxing their criteria, faced with the uptick in younger people. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "They were young. They thought they had time. Then they nearly died of liver disease.," 18 Feb. 2020 Kapler asked Cueto why, and the pitcher responded that chewing something relaxes him. Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ Gabe Kapler raves about Tyler Beede’s command in bullpen session," 16 Feb. 2020 According to the People report, Harry and Meghan have been spending most of their time relaxing in their Vancouver Island home or hiking in the woods nearby. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Apparently "Besotted" With Each Other Amid Their Royal Exit," 15 Feb. 2020 The couple also operate a business in Maryland where former military veterans, many of whom are handicapped, can hunt and relax at his rural property. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Villager Q&A: Don Shipley, ex-Navy SEAL who tracks down military imposters," 14 Feb. 2020 Making that relaxing ride a reality is a huge technological hurdle that's saddled with an astronomical price tag. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Self-Driving-Car Research Has Cost $16 Billion. What Do We Have to Show for It?," 10 Feb. 2020 Ironically, the new rules — which have since been relaxed some — came too late to save Shintech’s plant. Sara Sneath, ProPublica, "How Louisiana Lawmakers Stop Residents’ Efforts to Fight Big Oil and Gas," 7 Feb. 2020 When blocked, blood vessel walls relax and blood flow is increased. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Your erectile dysfunction pill could make you see red (or blue)," 7 Feb. 2020 The Kardashians have long evangelized waist trainers, wearing them at the gym or, especially, while relaxing at home. Jessica Testa, New York Times, "Kim Kardashian Has Learned Restraint," 6 Feb. 2020

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

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for relax


How to pronounce relax (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with relax

Spanish Central: Translation of relax

Nglish: Translation of relax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relax for Arabic Speakers

Comments on relax

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