rel·e·vance | \ˈre-lə-vən(t)s \

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

Bezos’s investments, moreover, worked for both him and the staff—they were designed to increase the paper’s relevance and profitability. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Other Side of Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post," 27 June 2018 These words have gained new relevance amid the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with President Trump's 2016 campaign. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "Kavanaugh's support for shielding sitting presidents from prosecution riles Dems," 10 July 2018 Buzz60 Sears has been trying out a variety of ideas to regain relevance and profitablity, including offering to install tires sold at Amazon. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Can't choose between Sears and Kmart? Now can get two-in-one," 19 June 2018 As the economy changes, proponents say, accounting standards that made sense for shipbuilders and oil drillers are bound to lose relevance. Bloomberg,, "What's a stock worth? In the new economy, traditional accounting has its critics," 8 June 2018 That question gained new relevance yesterday as research published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that 4,645 people died as a result of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "Hurricane Maria Contributed to Nearly 5,000 Deaths, Researchers Say," 30 May 2018 West eventually helped ignite a cultural revolution at a three-striped brand that lost some relevance in recent years. Jarrel Harris,, "Sneaker Mailbox: Michael Jordan's Playoff Moment, Trae Young's Puma Connection and More," 18 May 2018 If the past informs the present and the present enlightens the past, as Bolton believes, that makes the Met Gala the ultimate platform for proving that fashion, from any decade, holds contemporary relevance., "The Met Gala Curator On The Absence Of Politics From This Year's Exhibition," 7 May 2018 Though nearly eight decades old, the Hatch Act has gained new relevance during Trump's presidency. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Government watchdog investigating controversial EPA tweet, union says," 2 May 2018

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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Statistics for relevance

Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for relevance

The first known use of relevance was in 1787

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More Definitions for relevance


rel·e·vance | \ˈre-lə-vəns \

Kids Definition of relevance

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


rel·e·vance | \ˈre-lə-vəns \

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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Comments on relevance

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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