re·lent | \ ri-ˈlent \
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

By mid-2016, even the IMF called on Russia’s central bank to relent. The Economist, "Turkey’s central bank has streamlined its fight against inflation," 31 May 2018 The Pelicans answered by pushing the lead back up to 14 points, but Portland refused to relent and made things close down the stretch. William Guillory,, "Gayle Benson arrives for Pelicans' playoff opener against Blazers in Portland," 15 Apr. 2018 They were reunited around 2:30 a.m. at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Maryland, hours after the government relented. CBS News, "Confusion at the border after Trump's executive order," 22 June 2018 Some non-Ohioans or -CIncinnatians relent that Skyline Chili is less than appetizing. Taylor Jade Powell,, "P.G. Sittenfeld pays tribute to Anthony Bourdain: 'This 3-Way's for you'," 12 June 2018 And the service's leadership relented on efforts to retire the A-10 completely because the new stealthy fighter is not yet ready for the CAS mission. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "More A-10s to get new wings, as Air Force officially launches ATTACK," 31 May 2018 The job sat open for three months until the firm relented and agreed to hire someone without SAP skills. Christopher Rugaber,, "American workers’ willingness to quit — often for better pay — hits a 17-year high," 10 July 2018 The job sat open for three months until the firm relented and agreed to hire someone without SAP skills. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "American workers’ willingness to quit hits 17-year high," 10 July 2018 Enough people still relent or refuse to hang up, or even hand over their credit card numbers that the masterminds behind robocalls would be crazy to give up their racket. Kim Komando, Fox News, "Stop robocalls, free TV, anonymous browsing and more: Tech Q&A," 7 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for relent

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for relent

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

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More Definitions for relent



English Language Learners Definition of relent

: to agree to do or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing

: to become less severe, harsh, strong, determined, etc.


re·lent | \ ri-ˈlent \
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.

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Comments on relent

What made you want to look up relent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

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