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

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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 When the lawyer presented Landon’s school with the results in January, officials relented, but only in part. USA Today, "Two boys with the same disability tried to get help. The rich student got it quickly. The poor student did not.," 9 Feb. 2020 The grassroots struggle took two years, but county officials finally relented and agreed to reopen the polling site. NBC News, "Georgia voting site in rural black community reopened after grassroots fight," 10 Dec. 2019 The grassroots struggle took two years, but county officials finally relented and agreed to reopen the polling site. Washington Post, "Voting site reopened in Georgia after grassroots fight," 7 Dec. 2019 After communication with Major League Baseball, Nassar relented, but made all reporters who were non-guests of the hotel purchase rooms in order to stay. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros owner Jim Crane won't address MLB investigation," 20 Nov. 2019 But after outraged DJs collected 27,000 signatures on a petition to bring the 1200 back, Panasonic relented, resurfacing the 1200 in 2016 and releasing another update in 2019, the MK7. Jim Allen, Popular Mechanics, "This Technics Turntable Powered Hip-Hop’s Early Sound," 9 Nov. 2019 Immigration officials wary of litigation will usually relent once sued over H-1B denials like Nimdia’s — but only deep-pocketed employers can afford to take on the fight, Wasden said. Jake Pearson, ProPublica, "While Trump Cracked Down on Immigration, a Republican Megadonor Sued for a Special Visa," 7 Oct. 2019 Ultimately, Israel relented, but Ms. Tlaib – profiled in her district in Michigan in today’s Monitor Daily – rejected the new conditions. The Christian Science Monitor, "proactive approach to wildfire prevention," 19 Aug. 2019 Texas Tech did not relent when closing out shooters and held West Virginia to a paltry 3-15 on three-pointers for the game. Brice Paterik, Dallas News, "Poor shooting night sinks No. 22 Texas Tech on the road in 66-54 loss to No. 17 West Virginia," 11 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for relent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for relent

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for relent


How to pronounce relent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of relent

somewhat formal
: 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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on relent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for relent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with relent

Spanish Central: Translation of relent

Nglish: Translation of relent for Spanish Speakers

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