re·​lent | \ ri-ˈlent How to pronounce relent (audio) \
relented; relenting; relents

Definition of relent

intransitive verb

1a : to become less severe, harsh, or strict usually from reasons of humanity
b : to cease resistance : give in

Choose the Right Synonym for relent

yield, submit, capitulate, succumb, relent, defer mean to give way to someone or something that one can no longer resist. yield may apply to any sort or degree of giving way before force, argument, persuasion, or entreaty. yields too easily in any argument submit suggests full surrendering after resistance or conflict to the will or control of another. a repentant sinner vowing to submit to the will of God capitulate stresses the fact of ending all resistance and may imply either a coming to terms (as with an adversary) or hopelessness in the face of an irresistible opposing force. officials capitulated to the protesters' demands succumb implies weakness and helplessness to the one that gives way or an overwhelming power to the opposing force. a stage actor succumbing to the lure of Hollywood relent implies a yielding through pity or mercy by one who holds the upper hand. finally relented and let the children stay up late defer implies a voluntary yielding or submitting out of respect or reverence for or deference and affection toward another. I defer to your expertise in these matters

Examples of relent in a Sentence

Our application was initially refused, but the city relented in the end and the permit was issued. They had refused to pay and relented only after being threatened with a lawsuit. The winds would not relent.
Recent Examples on the Web Despite starting in 16th place after a subpar qualifying performance Saturday, Power sped to the front of the pack and refused to relent, leading for 55 laps. Mason Young, Detroit Free Press, 5 June 2022 The market would not relent and the central bank made good on its word. John Kicklighter, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 If by July 25 the union does not relent to an international draft by 2024, MLB will reattach draft-pick compensation and qualifying offers to free agents. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2022 From time to time, my terrible pain—imagine being stabbed with a pencil in the meat just between your shin and calf until the feeling radiates downward, across the ankle, and beneath the big toe—would relent. Outside Online, 28 Apr. 2022 Ian does finally relent and tell Kaheroton that God chose him to be with her. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 28 Mar. 2022 Like when Bennett wanted to sing jazz, and Mitch Miller, the white-bread chieftain of Columbia Records, would rarely relent. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 21 Mar. 2022 That is what the left is counting on now as Build Back Better joins the ranks of other Washington fixtures, and future Republicans relent to the new regime. Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 The policies have led to outrage over extreme cases that ended with defendants receiving short sentences for gruesome crimes, which led Gascón in February to relent on some of his all-or-nothing policies. James Queallystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of relent

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for relent

Middle English, to melt, soften, from Anglo-French relenter, from re- + Latin lentare to bend, from lentus soft, pliant, slow — more at lithe

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Time Traveler for relent

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

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Relent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for relent


re·​lent | \ ri-ˈlent How to pronounce relent (audio) \
relented; relenting

Kids Definition of relent

1 : to become less severe, harsh, or strict The wind relented by evening.
2 : to give in after first resisting or refusing My dad finally relented and increased my allowance.

More from Merriam-Webster on relent

Nglish: Translation of relent for Spanish Speakers


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