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See more synonyms for relent on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to soften in feeling, temper, or determination; become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving.
  2. to become less severe; slacken: The winds relented.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Obsolete. to cause to soften in feeling, temper, or determination.
  2. Obsolete. to cause to slacken; abate.
  3. Obsolete. to abandon; relinquish.
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Origin of relent

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin *relentāre, equivalent to Latin re- re- + lentāre to bend, derivative of lentus flexible, viscous, slow
Related formsre·lent·ing·ly, adverbnon·re·lent·ing, adjectiveun·re·lent·ed, adjective

Synonyms for relent

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1. bend, yield.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for relenting

quit, slacken, acquiesce, relax, subside, soften, capitulate, comply, forbear, slow, ebb, wane, ease, drop, yield, fold, melt, fall, moderate, weaken

Examples from the Web for relenting

Historical Examples of relenting

  • I gave him hopes of Frederica's relenting, and told him a great deal of her improvements.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • “I am sure I should break down,” said I, trying to find some sign of relenting in his eyes.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • There was no pause, no pity, no relenting rest in the world's kindness.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • She shuddered, and he caught at the fact as a sign of relenting.

  • I am told that she is relenting—that she has been heard to speak kindly of Clara.

British Dictionary definitions for relenting


verb (intr)
  1. to change one's mind about some decided course, esp a harsh one; become more mild or amenable
  2. (of the pace or intensity of something) to slacken
  3. (of the weather) to become more mild
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Word Origin for relent

C14: from re- + Latin lentāre to bend, from lentus flexible, tenacious
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 relenting



late 14c., "to melt, soften, dissolve," from re- + Latin lentus "slow, viscous, supple" (see lithe), perhaps on model of Old French rallentir. Sense of "become less harsh or cruel" first recorded 1520s. The notion probably is of a hard heart melting with pity. Related: Relented; relenting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper