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[ree-lak-sey-shuh n] /ˌri lækˈseɪ ʃən/
abatement or relief from bodily or mental work, effort, application, etc.
an activity or recreation that provides such relief; diversion; entertainment.
a loosening or slackening.
diminution or remission of strictness or severity.
Mathematics. a numerical procedure for solving systems of equations by successive approximations of the variables.
  1. the return of a system undergoing dissipation to an initial state of equilibrium after being displaced from it.
  2. the approach to steady-state operation of a system that has undergone dissipation and a change in state or has been subjected to an abrupt periodic disturbance.
Origin of relaxation
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin relaxātiōn- (stem of relaxātiō), equivalent to relaxāt(us) (past participle of relaxāre to relax; see -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonrelaxation, noun
2. fun, amusement, pleasure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for relaxation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The relaxation of this effort is what causes the sense of refreshment that follows all healthy discharges.

  • She had taken his advice and was giving herself some relaxation from business.

  • Thus we toiled for eight weary weeks without rest, except as the Sabbath—the blessed day of rest—gave us some relaxation.

    Thirteen Months in the Rebel Army William G. Stevenson
  • And then watch them (as I often have) make beautiful embroidery for relaxation!

    Have We No Rights? Mabel Williamson
  • Bathing and swimming supply, in their nu merous forms, examples of both healthful activity and relaxation.

    How to Live Irving Fisher and Eugene Fisk
British Dictionary definitions for relaxation


rest or refreshment, as after work or effort; recreation
a form of rest or recreation: his relaxation is cricket
a partial lessening of a punishment, duty, etc
the act of relaxing or state of being relaxed
(physics) the return of a system to equilibrium after a displacement from this state
(maths) a method by which errors resulting from an approximation are reduced by using new approximations
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 relaxation

late 14c., "rupture; mid-15c., "remission of a burden or penalty," from Old French relaxacion (14c.) and directly from Latin relaxationem (nominative relaxatio) "an easing, mitigation, relaxation," noun of action from past participle stem of relaxare (see relax). Meaning "relief from hard work or ordinary cares" is from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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relaxation in Medicine

relaxation re·lax·a·tion (rē'lāk-sā'shən)

  1. The act of relaxing or the state of being relaxed.

  2. Refreshment of body or mind.

  3. A loosening or slackening.

  4. The lengthening of inactive muscle or muscle fibers.

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