rel·​e·​vant ˈre-lə-vənt How to pronounce relevant (audio)
: having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand
: affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion
relevant testimony
: having social relevance
relevantly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for relevant

relevant, germane, material, pertinent, apposite, applicable, apropos mean relating to or bearing upon the matter in hand.

relevant implies a traceable, significant, logical connection.

found material relevant to her case

germane may additionally imply a fitness for or appropriateness to the situation or occasion.

a point not germane to the discussion

material implies so close a relationship that it cannot be dispensed with without serious alteration of the case.

facts material to the investigation

pertinent stresses a clear and decisive relevance.

a pertinent observation

apposite suggests a felicitous relevance.

add an apposite quotation to the definition

applicable suggests the fitness of bringing a general rule or principle to bear upon a particular case.

the rule is not applicable in this case

apropos suggests being both relevant and opportune.

the quip was apropos

Example Sentences

… the sport [men's tennis] is so invisible to the American fan that it's in danger of becoming as relevant as—gasp—soccer Mike Freeman, NewYork Times, 1 Sept. 2002
Mendelian genetics is no more relevant to understanding heredity in the real world than Euclidean geometry is to understanding the shape of an oak tree. Matt Ridley, Genome, 1999
But it is much less relevant when the question becomes, as it should, "What, then, must we do with and for the one third or so of black America that seems to be permanently alienated from the structures of opportunity in this society?" Glenn C. Loury, Atlantic, November 1997
The smallest distance that is relevant to measurement today is something like 10-17 centimeters, which is how far a thing called the Z0 (see zero) can travel before it departs our world. Leon Lederman et al., The God Particle, 1993
The ideas and observations expressed in the book are still relevant today. make sure your comments during the interview are short and relevant See More
Recent Examples on the Web In addition, to remain sustainable into the future, museums must be freshly relevant and engaging to every new generation. Jeff Fromm, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 The information that supervisors gain and pass up to other regulatory officials and central bankers is not only relevant but quite vital. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 19 Mar. 2023 An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, Hartig is dedicated to making the nation’s richly diverse history accessible, inclusive and relevant. USA Today, 17 Mar. 2023 Researchers noted recent investments in improving the student experience, including redesign efforts to make high school more relevant for students and new funding for over-age students. Lauren Lumpkin, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2023 Also relevant to this conversation: the risk of indoor air pollution posed not only by gas stoves but also by gas space heaters, water heaters and clothes dryers. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2023 The academy emphasized that the ceremony would feel modern — part of an urgent effort to make the telecast more relevant to young people. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2023 This aspect of consolidation is where the Clayton Act, which outlaws anti-competitive mergers, becomes relevant. Joe Mazur, The Conversation, 11 Mar. 2023 Purdy became relevant as the 49ers’ third starting quarterback during the 2022 season as a rookie after being taken with the last pick, No. 262, in the 2022 NFL draft last April. Safid Deen, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relevant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Medieval Latin relevant-, relevans, from Latin, present participle of relevare to raise up — more at relieve

First Known Use

circa 1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of relevant was circa 1540

Dictionary Entries Near relevant

Cite this Entry

“Relevant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


rel·​e·​vant ˈrel-ə-vənt How to pronounce relevant (audio)
: having something to do with the matter being considered : pertinent
a relevant question
relevantly adverb

Legal Definition


rel·​e·​vant ˈre-lə-vənt How to pronounce relevant (audio)
: tending logically to prove or disprove a fact of consequence or to make the fact more or less probable and thereby aiding the trier of fact in making a decision
determined that the evidence was relevant
also : having a bearing on or reasonably calculated to lead to a matter that bears on any issue in a case for purposes of pretrial discovery see also relevant evidence at evidence
: having significant and demonstrable bearing on facts or issues
was not a relevant case

More from Merriam-Webster on relevant

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