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

But the company relented slightly in November by reducing those prices and eating some of the cost of the import tax amid reports of sagging sales. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla drops prices in China after the government suspends tariffs," 14 Dec. 2018 The world’s hope is that nature will relent to allow the miracle to proceed. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: Thailand cave rescue shows what true heroism is all about," 9 July 2018 After a full day of negotiations, hours upon hours of back-and-forth, Grigson finally relented; Vinatieri got his two-year deal. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "23 seasons strong: Why Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri came back," 22 Feb. 2018 The president had proposed a different running mate but relented in the face of rebelling coalition partners. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Indonesia President Picks Conservative Cleric for Running Mate," 10 Aug. 2018 Shakir was initially denied permission to work in Israel, but in March 2017 the Interior Ministry relented and granted him a year-long visa. Ruth Eglash,, "Israel court halts immediate expulsion of Human Rights Watch head," 23 May 2018 Democrats spearheaded a government shutdown earlier this year in a bid to preserve and codify the program, then relented after a few days. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "What's not in the omnibus is what matters most," 22 Mar. 2018 The New York Stock Exchange banned dual-class shares in 1940 but relented in 1988 when companies that wished to use the structure to fend off hostile takeovers threatened to move to the more indulgent Nasdaq. Michael Hiltzik,, "The SEC lowers the boom on Theranos — but there are more companies like Theranos out there," 14 Mar. 2018 Mueller's team relented and introduced just 11 pages into evidence. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Judge Ellis calls on Mueller team to 'really sharply focus' inquiries, as prosecutors ask witness about emoji," 9 Aug. 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

10 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on relent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with relent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for relent

Spanish Central: Translation of relent

Nglish: Translation of relent for Spanish Speakers

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