rel·​e·​vance | \ ˈre-lə-vən(t)s How to pronounce relevance (audio) \

Definition of relevance

1a : relation to the matter at hand
b : practical and especially social applicability : pertinence giving relevance to college courses
2 : the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user

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Examples of relevance in a Sentence

I appreciate that you did the dishes tonight, but that has no relevance to my enforcement of the punishment you got earlier this week.
Recent Examples on the Web During previous challenges, fashion rose to the occasion, setting up financial-relief efforts and reasserting its cultural and economic relevance. ... Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Supermodel Naomi Campbell On How the Fashion Industry Can Stay Relevant During the Pandemic," 21 Apr. 2020 And what better way for the show to demonstrate its relevance than recruiting a Black woman who knows the 90210 like the back of her hand? Ineye Komonibo,, "Bravo Knew Exactly What It Was Doing When It Cast Garcelle Beauvais For The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills," 15 Apr. 2020 The novelist and memoirist Alexander Chee’s rousing introduction to the new Penguin Classics edition of East Goes West argues strongly for its relevance today. Ed Park, The New York Review of Books, "Like No One They’d Ever Seen," 8 Apr. 2020 Now, nearly four decades later, the song is gaining relevance for listeners who weren't even born when it was first released, thanks to its popularity on an unexpected platform: TikTok. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "How TikTok became a hitmaker for the music industry," 21 Feb. 2020 For the historians King and Scott, black history and its relevance is all about the U.S. education system. NBC News, "Is Black History Month still relevant? 'Absolutely yes,' one historian says," 12 Feb. 2020 More than two decades after Britain handed control over Hong Kong to Beijing, a British passport status that until recently appeared to have fallen out of time is suddenly gaining new relevance. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "As violence spikes, some Hong Kong activists see salvation in British citizenship," 18 Nov. 2019 Even so, there remains some residue of relevance to the convention ritual, the faint sense that a paradigm-shifting moment might sneak through in the middle of all the self-aggrandizement and forced celebration. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: COVID-19 could hasten the end of political conventions," 11 Apr. 2020 That's when this annual pastime will cease to have any relevance, according to a 1960 article. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "Marriages, birthdays and romance: A look back at The Republic's unique stories on Leap Day," 29 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relevance.' 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 relevance

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for relevance

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The first known use of relevance was in 1787

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Statistics for relevance

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relevance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for relevance


rel·​e·​vance | \ ˈre-lə-vəns How to pronounce relevance (audio) \

Kids Definition of relevance

: relation to the matter at hand Your comments lack relevance.


rel·​e·​vance | \ ˈre-lə-vəns How to pronounce relevance (audio) \

Legal Definition of relevance

: the quality or state of being relevant : relation to the matter at hand ruled on the relevance of the testimony relevance in discovery has been broadly interpreted

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