Definition of relation in English:


Syllabification: re·la·tion
Pronunciation: /riˈlāSHən


  • 1The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected; a thing’s effect on or relevance to another: questions about the relation between writing and reality the size of the targets bore no relation to their importance
    More example sentences
    • It may also be hard to see the relation between cause and effect.
    • If, however, we adopt the second hypothesis, we have to inquire only as to the relation between cause and effect.
    • What is the causal relation between the pattern of division and cell differentiation?
  • 1.1 (relations) The way in which two or more people, countries, or organizations feel about and behave toward each other: the improvement in relations between the two countries the meetings helped cement Anglo-American relations
    More example sentences
    • I think that qualifies as a small step towards improved bilateral relations, don't you?
    • Your wisdom and intuition take you towards better relations with people.
    • We are all the same people, but our relations with each other have changed.
    dealings, communication, relationship, connections, contact, interaction
  • 1.2 (relations) chiefly • formal Sexual intercourse: he wanted an excuse to abandon sexual relations with her
    More example sentences
    • Sexual relations with anyone but the legitimate spouse, as noted above, were and are still deemed illicit.
    • Sexual relations between adult and child were seen as benefitting the child rather than gratifying the adult.
    • Sexual relations have ceased after the death in infancy of their son some years before.
  • 2A person who is connected by blood or marriage; a kinsman or kinswoman: she was no relation at all, but he called her Aunt Nora
    More example sentences
    • Had he not been his brother and his closest relation, he would have murdered him in cold blood.
    • He is survived by his wife Tess, three sons and two daughters, family relations and a host of friends he made through the music business.
    • The definition does not include your cousins or any relations by marriage.
    relative, member of the family, kinsman, kinswoman; (relations) family, kin, kith and kin, kindred
  • 3The action of telling a story.
    More example sentences
    • She is calumniated by some people, who think the relation of this story to be a reflection.
    • Their death lives on in the relation of this story.


in relation to

In the context of; in connection with: there is an ambiguity in the provisions in relation to children’s hearings
More example sentences
  • It is the provision in relation to danger to the public safety or to the peace which was relied on in both cases.
  • That seems to me to be a perfectly proper direction in relation to the provision.
  • A preliminary reference can be made in relation to three types of subject matter.


Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin relatio(n-), from referre 'bring back' (see relate).

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