See more synonyms for relation on
  1. an existing connection; a significant association between or among things: the relation between cause and effect.
  2. relations,
    1. the various connections between peoples, countries, etc.: foreign relations.
    2. the various connections in which persons are brought together: business and social relations.
    3. sexual intercourse.
  3. the mode or kind of connection between one person and another, between an individual and God, etc.
  4. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
  5. a person who is related by blood or marriage; relative: his wife's relations.
  6. the act of relating, narrating, or telling; narration.
  7. Law. a principle whereby effect is given to an act done at one time as if it had been done at a previous time.
  8. Mathematics.
    1. a property that associates two quantities in a definite order, as equality or inequality.
    2. a single- or multiple-valued function.
  1. in/with relation to, with reference to; concerning: It's best to plan with relation to anticipated changes in one's earnings.

Origin of relation

1350–1400; Middle English relacion < Latin relātiōn- (stem of relātiō). See relate, -ion
Related formsre·la·tion·less, adjectivenon·re·la·tion, nounpre·re·la·tion, nounsub·re·la·tion, noun

Synonyms for relation

See more synonyms for on

Antonyms for relation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for relations

Contemporary Examples of relations

Historical Examples of relations

  • It would have interfered with her relations with Austin, which were beginning to be exciting.


    William J. Locke

  • Yet is incensed against her for preferring her own relations to him.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Besides, he did not care to establish any relations with the people in the house.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He also put his own son Crispus to death, and other relations as well.

    The Non-Christian Cross

    John Denham Parsons

  • Byron was a symbolic figure, but his relations were to the passion of his age and its weariness of passion.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

British Dictionary definitions for relations


pl n
  1. social, political, or personal connections or dealings between or among individuals, groups, nations, etcto enjoy good relations
  2. family or relatives
  3. euphemistic sexual intercourse


  1. the state or condition of being related or the manner in which things are related
  2. connection by blood or marriage; kinship
  3. a person who is connected by blood or marriage; relative; kinsman
  4. reference or regard (esp in the phrase in or with relation to)
  5. the position, association, connection, or status of one person or thing with regard to another or others
  6. the act of relating or narrating
  7. an account or narrative
  8. law the principle by which an act done at one time is regarded in law as having been done antecedently
  9. law the statement of grounds of complaint made by a relator
  10. logic maths
    1. an association between ordered pairs of objects, numbers, etc, such as … is greater than …
    2. the set of ordered pairs whose members have such an association
  11. philosophy
    1. internal relationa relation that necessarily holds between its relata, as 4 is greater than 2
    2. external relationa relation that does not so hold
See also relations

Word Origin for relation

C14: from Latin relātiō a narration, a relation (between philosophical concepts)
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

Word Origin and History for relations



late 14c., "connection, correspondence;" also "act of telling," from Anglo-French relacioun, Old French relacion "report, connection" (14c.), from Latin relationem (nominative relatio) "a bringing back, restoring; a report, proposition," from relatus (see relate). Meaning "person related by blood or marriage" first attested c.1500. Stand-alone phrase no relation "not in the same family" is attested by 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

relations in Medicine


  1. A logical or natural association between two or more things; relevance of one to another; connection.
  2. The connection of people by blood or marriage; kinship.
  3. A person connected to another by blood or marriage; a relative.
  4. The positional relationship of the teeth or other structures in the mouth.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with relations


see poor relation; relative (in relation) to.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.