\ ˈlaks How to pronounce lax (audio) \

Essential Meaning of lax

disapproving : not careful enough : not strict enough lax regulations/policies Security has been lax. The university has been lax about/in enforcing these rules.

Full Definition of lax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a of the bowels : loose, open
b : having loose bowels
2 : deficient in firmness : not stringent lax control a lax foreman security has been lax
3a : not tense, firm, or rigid : slack a lax rope
b : having an open or loose texture a lax soil
c : having the constituents spread apart a lax flower cluster
4 : articulated with the muscles involved in a relatively relaxed state (such as the vowel \i\ in contrast with the vowel \ē\)



Definition of lax (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from lax


laxation \ lak-​ˈsā-​shən How to pronounce lax (audio) \ noun
laxly \ ˈlaks-​lē How to pronounce lax (audio) \ adverb
laxness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for lax


negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss mean culpably careless or indicative of such carelessness. negligent implies inattention to one's duty or business. negligent about writing a note of thanks neglectful adds a more disapproving implication of laziness or deliberate inattention. a society callously neglectful of the poor lax implies a blameworthy lack of strictness, severity, or precision. a reporter lax about accurate quotation slack implies want of due or necessary diligence or care. slack workmanship remiss implies blameworthy carelessness shown in slackness, forgetfulness, or neglect. had been remiss in their familial duties

Examples of lax in a Sentence

Adjective The university has been lax about enforcing these rules. lax parents who let their kids stay out as late as they want
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The failures of the program are largely due to the complex requirements established by Congress, coupled with poor administration of the program by student loan servicers and lax oversight by the Department of Education. Adam S. Minsky, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 Experts say there are many different factors that could have contributed to the building collapse, including sea-level rise, instability of the ground beneath the building and lax oversight of its construction. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, 29 June 2021 Regulatory authority historically has rested with the BAH, which some observers have criticized for lax oversight and being too cozy with the industry. Star Tribune, 24 June 2021 But a joint investigation by NBC News and The Marshall Project found that a dangerous practice roundly rejected by experts has persisted in many places because of outdated guidelines and lax oversight. NBC News, 24 May 2021 These schools weathered, and in some cases thrived, through COVID-19 shutdowns, aided by lax oversight from the Department of Education under former President Donald Trump. Chris Quintana, USA Today, 18 May 2021 The combination of profit seeking and lax FDA oversight has predictably led to a torrent of lawsuits on behalf of those who have been harmed by mesh in hernia repairs. Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2021 The series exposed for the first time how more than 20 county hospitals across the state bought up nearly all of Indiana’s nursing homes, then exploited loose rules and lax oversight to divert at least $1 billion in Medicaid funds from those homes. Indystar, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Apr. 2021 As the number of people getting vaccinated increases and restrictions become lax, more workplaces are adopting a remote-first hybrid approach. Heidi Lynne Kurter, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lax


Middle English, from Latin laxus loose — more at slack


by shortening & alteration (x as symbol for -crosse)

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Time Traveler for lax

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The first known use of lax was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near lax

lawyer vine



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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lax.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for lax


\ ˈlaks How to pronounce lax (audio) \

Kids Definition of lax

1 : not firm or tight : loose The straps were lax.
2 : not stern or strict lax discipline

Other Words from lax

laxness noun


\ ˈlaks How to pronounce lax (audio) \

Medical Definition of lax

1 of the bowels : loose sense 3
2 : having loose bowels

More from Merriam-Webster on lax

Nglish: Translation of lax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lax for Arabic Speakers


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