[ ri-laks ]
See synonyms for: relaxrelaxedrelaxesrelaxing on

verb (used with object)
  1. to make less tense, rigid, or firm; make lax: to relax the muscles.

  2. to diminish the force of.

  1. to slacken or abate, as effort, attention, etc.

  2. to make less strict or severe, as rules, discipline, etc.: to relax the requirements for a license.

  3. to release or bring relief from the effects of tension, anxiety, etc.: A short swim always relaxes me.

verb (used without object)
  1. to become less tense, rigid, or firm.

  2. to become less strict or severe; grow milder.

  1. to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest or recreation.

  2. to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.

Origin of relax

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English relaxen, from Latin relaxāre “to stretch out again, loosen,” equivalent to re- re- + laxāre “to loosen,” derivative of laxus “loose, spacious, wide,” see lax1

Other words for relax

Opposites for relax

Other words from relax

  • re·lax·a·tive, re·lax·a·tory [ri-lak-suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], /rɪˈlæk səˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective
  • re·lax·er, noun
  • o·ver·re·lax, verb
  • un·re·lax·ing, adjective

Words Nearby relax Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use relax in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for relax


/ (rɪˈlæks) /

  1. to make (muscles, a grip, etc) less tense or rigid or (of muscles, a grip, etc) to become looser or less rigid

  2. (intr) to take rest or recreation, as from work or effort: on Sundays, she just relaxes; she relaxes by playing golf

  1. to lessen the force of (effort, concentration, etc) or (of effort) to become diminished

  2. to make (rules or discipline) less rigid or strict or (of rules, etc) to diminish in severity

  3. (intr) (of a person) to become less formal; unbend

Origin of relax

C15: from Latin relaxāre to loosen, from re- + laxāre to loosen, from laxus loose, lax

Derived forms of relax

  • relaxable, adjective
  • relaxed, adjective
  • relaxedly (rɪˈlæksɪdlɪ), 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