relation

noun

re·​la·​tion ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio)
1
: the act of telling or recounting : account
2
: an aspect or quality (such as resemblance) that connects two or more things or parts as being or belonging or working together or as being of the same kind
the relation of time and space
specifically : a property (such as one expressed by is equal to, is less than, or is the brother of) that holds between an ordered pair of objects
3
: the referring by a legal fiction of an act to a prior date as the time of its taking effect
usually used with back
4
a(1)
: a person connected by consanguinity or affinity : relative
(2)
: a person legally entitled to a share of the property of an intestate
b
: relationship by consanguinity or affinity : kinship
5
: reference, respect
in relation to
6
: the attitude or stance which two or more persons or groups assume toward one another
race relations
7
a
: the state of being mutually or reciprocally interested (as in social or commercial matters)
b relations plural
(1)
: dealings, intercourse
foreign relations

Example Sentences

The incident led to tense international relations.
Recent Examples on the Web In July, Allen pleaded guilty to one count of forcibly assaulting an officer/employee of the United States and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 23 Nov. 2022 The report and other documents sent to the commission in relation to the 2022 order must be submitted as true and correct under penalty of perjury. WIRED, 23 Nov. 2022 However, unlike other sports, specifically NFL games, the results of soccer matches are quite different in relation to the bet winners. Ian Firstenberg, Chicago Tribune, 22 Nov. 2022 Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and four other members of the right-wing militia group face the most serious charges brought so far in relation to the attack on the Capitol, chief among them a seditious conspiracy charge. Jane Onyanga-omara Steve Coogan Usa Today, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2022 In October, Land Use and Housing Committee members questioned the timing of JLL’s latest contract in relation to the coming-soon solicitation. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 No injuries have been reported in relation to the recall. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 17 Nov. 2022 Days after Petito's body was discovered, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a warrant for Laundrie's arrest in relation to activities that occurred after Petito's death — not for her death itself. Steve Helling, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2022 Police said Manzone’s arrest was the final one in relation to the case. Mike Mavredakis, Hartford Courant, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English relacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin relation-, relatio, from referre (past participle relatus) to carry back

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of relation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near relation

Cite this Entry

“Relation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/relation. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

relation

noun

re·​la·​tion ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio)
1
: the act of telling or describing
2
: connection sense 2, relationship
the relation of employer to employee
3
: a related person : relative
4
: reference entry 1 sense 2, respect
in relation to this matter
5
a
: the state of sharing an interest (as in social or business matters)
b
plural : business or public affairs
good trade relations
foreign relations
c
plural : dealings between persons or groups
improved his relations with his family
relational
-shnəl
-shən-ᵊl
adjective

Medical Definition

relation

noun

re·​la·​tion ri-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce relation (audio)
1
: an aspect or quality (as resemblance or causality) that connects two or more things or parts as being or belonging or working together, as being of the same kind, or as being logically connected
the strong relation between genotype and phenotype Anne M. Glazier et al.
2
: the attitude or stance which two or more persons or groups assume toward one another
race relations
3
a
: the state of being mutually or reciprocally interested (as in social matters)
b
relations plural : sexual intercourse
testified that relations had occurred Newsweek
relational adjective

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