There are 2 main definitions of lax in English:

Share this entry

lax 1

Line breaks: lax

adjective

1Not sufficiently strict, severe, or careful: lax security arrangements at the airport he’d been a bit lax about discipline in school lately
More example sentences
  • Those two sides have plenty of time to interact due to the ludicrously lax security arrangements.
  • The punishment must fit the crime, neither too lax nor too severe.
  • Many social problems stem from lax enforcement of strict legal code.
Synonyms
slack, slipshod, negligent, neglectful, remiss, careless, heedless, unmindful, inattentive, slapdash, offhand, casual;
easy-going, lenient, permissive, soft, liberal, non-restrictive, indulgent, overindulgent, complaisant, over-tolerant, irresponsible
informalsloppy
2(Of the limbs or muscles) relaxed: muscles have more potential energy when they are stretched than when they are lax
More example sentences
  • He had, by now, stood up, but his lanky limbs were still lax as his back steadied itself against the wall.
  • I stagger down the street for a while before my lax limbs become used to working again.
  • His friend sagged slightly then, something that looked like the beginnings of tears glimmering on his eyelashes as he pulled lax fingers into action and slowly unbuttoned his shirt.
2.1(Of the bowels) loose.
Example sentences
  • The unfortunate offset was that the hydronically excited children became rather lax in the bladder department, and messy assisted toilet trips were required.
2.2 Phonetics (Of a speech sound, especially a vowel) pronounced with the vocal muscles relaxed. The opposite of tense1. the merger of tense and lax vowels before ‘l’
More example sentences
  • In view of the time required to move to more peripheral vowel positions, tense vowels tend to be peripheral and lax vowels closer to schwa, the neutral or central vowel.

Derivatives

laxly

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • The school had wanted to expand school enrollment and wanted to make sure that there were enough qualifying students, which was why the teachers graded laxly.
  • Both are known as the pre-Code era, although a loose, laxly administered set of standards was already in place for both media.
  • In the early twentieth century, twenty-eight states restricted child labor by law, but most of the laws were vaguely worded, full of exemptions, and laxly enforced.

laxness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • I think a lot of immigration lawyers like myself laughed when we heard about the laxness of our immigration system.
  • The family discord has been in progress for about two weeks, said the man, attributing it, in part, to the laxness of previous discipline.
  • There will be no place for such laxness this Sunday.

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense 'loose', said of the bowels): from Latin laxus.

More
  • languish from Middle English:

    Early senses included ‘become faint, feeble, or ill’; in the early 18th century it came to mean ‘assume a languid or sentimentally tender expression’ and was aptly applied to Sheridan's character Lydia Languish in The Rivals performed for the first time in 1775. The word goes back to Latin laxus ‘loose, lax’ found also in lax (Late Middle English), relax (Late Middle English) where the re- intensifies the sense; relay (Late Middle English), release (Middle English), and laxative (Late Middle English) something that loosens the bowels. See slake

Words that rhyme with lax

axe (US ax), Backs, Bax, fax, flax, max, pax, Sachs, sax, saxe, tax, wax

Definition of lax in:

Share this entry

 

There are 2 main definitions of lax in English:

Share this entry

lax 2 Line breaks: lax

noun

[mass noun] US informal
Lacrosse: I wore pads and a helmet whenever I played lax
More example sentences
  • The 8- and 6-year-olds experimented with the sport for a few weeks that fall and the next spring they signed up to play lax.
  • We offer lax for boys and girls of all ages – whether you’re just starting in Pre K or want to play Varsity in high school.
  • Outdoor lax is at Northville Community and Millenium Parks.

Origin

1950s: abbreviation of lacrosse, with x representing crosse (by association with cross).

More
  • languish from Middle English:

    Early senses included ‘become faint, feeble, or ill’; in the early 18th century it came to mean ‘assume a languid or sentimentally tender expression’ and was aptly applied to Sheridan's character Lydia Languish in The Rivals performed for the first time in 1775. The word goes back to Latin laxus ‘loose, lax’ found also in lax (Late Middle English), relax (Late Middle English) where the re- intensifies the sense; relay (Late Middle English), release (Middle English), and laxative (Late Middle English) something that loosens the bowels. See slake

Definition of lax in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Related Words