Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make lax or loose: relax one's grip.
  • transitive v. To make less severe or strict: relax a curfew.
  • transitive v. To reduce in intensity; slacken: relax one's efforts.
  • transitive v. To relieve from tension or strain: The warm bath relaxed me.
  • intransitive v. To take one's ease; rest.
  • intransitive v. To become lax or loose.
  • intransitive v. To become less severe or strict.
  • intransitive v. To become less restrained or tense.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To calm down.
  • v. To make something loose.
  • v. To become loose.
  • v. To make something less severe or tense.
  • v. To become less severe or tense.
  • v. To make something (such as codes and regulations) more lenient.
  • v. To become more lenient.
  • v. To relieve (something) from stress.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Relaxed; lax; hence, remiss; careless.
  • n. Relaxation.
  • intransitive v. To become lax, weak, or loose.
  • intransitive v. To abate in severity; to become less rigorous.
  • intransitive v. To remit attention or effort; to become less diligent; to unbend.
  • transitive v. To make lax or loose; to make less close, firm, rigid, tense, or the like; to slacken; to loosen; to open
  • transitive v. To make less severe or rigorous; to abate the stringency of; to remit in respect to strenuousness, earnestness, or effort
  • transitive v. Hence, to relieve from attention or effort; to ease; to recreate; to divert.
  • transitive v. To relieve from constipation; to loosen; to open.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To slacken; make more lax or less tense or rigid; loosen; make less close or firm: as, to relax a rope or cord; to relax the muscles or sinews.
  • To make less severe or rigorous; remit or abate in strictness: as, to relax a law or rule.
  • To remit or abate in respect to attention, assiduity, effort, or labor: as, to relax study; to relax exertions or efforts.
  • To relieve from attention or effort; afford a relaxation to; unbend: as, conversation relaxes the mind of the student.
  • To abate; take away.
  • To relieve from constipation; loosen; open: as, medicines relax the bowels.
  • To set loose or free; give up or over.
  • Synonyms To loose, unbrace, weaken, enervate, debilitate.
  • To mitigate, ease.
  • To divert, recreate.
  • To become loose, feeble, or languid.
  • To abate in severity; become more mild or less rigorous.
  • To remit in close attention; unbend.
  • Relaxed; loose.
  • n. Relaxation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make less taut
  • v. become less tense, rest, or take one's ease
  • v. cause to feel relaxed
  • v. make less active or fast
  • v. make less severe or strict
  • v. become less tense, less formal, or less restrained, and assume a friendlier manner
  • v. become less severe or strict
  • v. become loose or looser or less tight

Etymologies

Middle English relaxen, from Old French relaxer, from Latin relaxāre : re-, re- + laxāre, to loosen (from laxus, loose; see slēg- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French relaxer, from Latin relaxāre ("relax, loosen, open"), from re- ("back") + laxāre ("loosen"), from laxus ("loose, free"). (Wiktionary)

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