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2017 Word of the Year

relax

[ri-laks] /rɪˈlæks/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make less tense, rigid, or firm; make lax:
to relax the muscles.
2.
to diminish the force of.
3.
to slacken or abate, as effort, attention, etc.
4.
to make less strict or severe, as rules, discipline, etc.:
to relax the requirements for a license.
5.
to release or bring relief from the effects of tension, anxiety, etc.:
A short swim always relaxes me.
verb (used without object)
6.
to become less tense, rigid, or firm.
7.
to become less strict or severe; grow milder.
8.
to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest or recreation.
9.
to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.
Origin of relax
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English relaxen < Latin relaxāre to stretch out again, loosen, equivalent to re- re- + laxāre to loosen, derivative of laxus slack, lax
Related forms
relaxative, relaxatory
[ri-lak-suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /rɪˈlæk səˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
adjective
relaxer, noun
overrelax, verb
unrelaxing, adjective
Synonyms
1, 6. loosen, slacken. 2. mitigate, weaken, lessen, reduce. 4. ease. 6. unbend. 7. relent, soften.
Antonyms
1, 6. tighten, tense.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for relax
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a clutch on her throat just then, which would not relax at the call of her will.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Whatever others might do he must not allow himself to relax so much.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • It has however served to weaken her prepossessions, and relax the chains of her attachment.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • He had told us to relax—but to do anything else would have been impossible.

  • Alone in the control compartment, he tried to relax, but it was not possible.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for relax

relax

/rɪˈlæks/
verb
1.
to make (muscles, a grip, etc) less tense or rigid or (of muscles, a grip, etc) to become looser or less rigid
2.
(intransitive) to take rest or recreation, as from work or effort: on Sundays, she just relaxes, she relaxes by playing golf
3.
to lessen the force of (effort, concentration, etc) or (of effort) to become diminished
4.
to make (rules or discipline) less rigid or strict or (of rules, etc) to diminish in severity
5.
(intransitive) (of a person) to become less formal; unbend
Derived Forms
relaxable, adjective
relaxed, adjective
relaxedly (rɪˈlæksɪdlɪ) adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin relaxāre to loosen, from re- + laxāre to loosen, from laxus loose, lax
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for relax
v.

late 14c., "to make (something) less compact or dense," from Old French relaschier "set free; soften; reduce" (14c.), from Latin relaxare "relax, loosen, open, stretch out, widen again; make loose," from re- "back" (see re-) + laxare "loosen," from laxus "loose" (see lax). Of persons, "to become less formal," from 1837. Meaning "decrease tension" is from early 15c.; intransitive sense of "to become less tense" is recorded from 1935. Related: Relaxed; relaxing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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relax in Medicine

relax re·lax (rĭ-lāks')
v. re·laxed, re·lax·ing, re·lax·es

  1. To make or become lax or loose.

  2. To relieve or become relieved from tension or strain.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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12
13
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