1. of or relating to relativity or relativism.
  2. Physics.
    1. subject to the special or the general theory of relativity.
    2. (of a velocity) having a magnitude that is a significant fraction of the speed of light.
    3. (of a particle) having a relativistic velocity: radiation from relativistic electrons.

Origin of relativistic

First recorded in 1885–90; relativist + -ic
Related formsrel·a·tiv·is·ti·cal·ly, adverbul·tra·rel·a·tiv·is·tic, adjectiveun·rel·a·tiv·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for relativistic

Historical Examples of relativistic

  • The man had used a simplified quantum mechanics without correction for relativistic effects.


    Poul William Anderson

British Dictionary definitions for relativistic


  1. physics having or involving a speed close to that of light so that the behaviour is described by the theory of relativity rather than by Newtonian mechanicsa relativistic electron; a relativistic velocity
  2. physics of, concerned with, or involving relativity
  3. of or relating to relativism
Derived Formsrelativistically, adverb
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

relativistic in Science


  1. Either of two theories in physics developed by Albert Einstein, General Relativity or Special Relativity. See Notes at Einstein gravity space-time.
Related formsrelativistic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.