[ rel-uh-tuh-vis-tik ]
/ ˌrɛl ə təˈvɪs tɪk /


of or relating to relativity or relativism.
  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 forms

rel·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. 2019

Examples from the Web for relativistic

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

    Security|Poul William Anderson

British Dictionary definitions for relativistic


/ (ˌrɛlətɪˈvɪstɪk) /


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
physics of, concerned with, or involving relativity
of or relating to relativism

Derived Forms

relativistically, 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

Science definitions for relativistic


[ rĕl′ə-tĭvĭ-tē ]

Either of two theories in physics developed by Albert Einstein, General Relativity or Special Relativity. See Notes at Einstein gravity space-time.

Related forms

relativistic adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.