verb re·lent \ri-ˈlent\

Definition of relent

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a :  to become less severe, harsh, or strict usually from reasons of humanityb :  to cease resistance :  give in

  3. 2 :  let up, slacken

  4. transitive verb
  5. obsolete :  soften, mollify

Examples of relent in a sentence

  1. Our application was initially refused, but the city relented in the end and the permit was issued.

  2. They had refused to pay and relented only after being threatened with a lawsuit.

  3. The winds would not relent.

Origin and Etymology of relent

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

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

RELENT Defined for English Language Learners


verb re·lent \ri-ˈlent\

Definition of relent for English Language Learners

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

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

RELENT Defined for Kids


verb re·lent \ri-ˈlent\

Definition of relent for Students




  1. 1 :  to become less severe, harsh, or strict The wind relented by evening.

  2. 2 :  to give in after first resisting or refusing My dad finally relented and increased my allowance.

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