bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent: a relevant remark.

Origin of relevant

1550–60; < Medieval Latin relevant- (stem of relevāns), special use of Latin, present participle of relevāre to raise, lift up. See relieve, -ant
Related formsrel·e·vance, rel·e·van·cy, nounrel·e·vant·ly, adverbnon·rel·e·vant, adjectiveun·rel·e·vant, adjectiveun·rel·e·vant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for relevant

Synonym study

See apt.

Pronunciation note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for relevant

Contemporary Examples of relevant

Historical Examples of relevant

  • Illustrations have been moved closer to their relevant paragraphs.

  • Yet a spirited and relevant discussion may be conducted in a class of a hundred or so.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • For readability, the footnotes have been moved to the end of the relevant chapter.

    The Classification of Patents

    United States Patent Office

  • This I do, because it does not seem to me relevant to the matter in hand.

    The Arena


  • This puts the argument upon a plane where discussion is relevant.

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann

British Dictionary definitions for relevant



having direct bearing on the matter in hand; pertinent
linguistics another word for distinctive (def. 2)
Derived Formsrelevance or relevancy, nounrelevantly, adverb

Word Origin for relevant

C16: from Medieval Latin relevans, from Latin relevāre to lighten, from re- + levāre to raise, relieve
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 relevant

"pertinent to the matter at hand," 1550s, from Middle French relevant "depending upon," originally "helpful," from Medieval Latin relevantem (nominative relevans), from stem of Latin relevare "to lessen, lighten" (see relieve). Not generally used until after 1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper