from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Considered in comparison or relation to something else.
  • adjective Having pertinence or relevance; connected or related.
  • adjective Grammar Referring to or qualifying an antecedent, as the pronoun who in the man who was on TV or that in the dictionary that I use.
  • adjective Music Having the same key signature. Used of major and minor scales and keys.
  • noun A person related to another by heredity, adoption, or marriage.
  • noun A species or other taxon that shares a common ancestor, usually a relatively recent ancestor, with another.
  • noun Grammar A relative pronoun.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having relation to or bearing on something; close in connection; pertinent; relevant; to the purpose.
  • Not absolute or existing by itself; considered as belonging to or respecting something else; depending on or incident to relation.
  • In grammar, referring to an antecedent; introducing a dependent clause that defines or describes or modifies something else in the sentence that is called the antecedent (because it usually, though by no means always, precedes the relative): thus, he who runs may read; he lay on the spot where he fell.
  • Not intelligible except in connection with something else; signifying a relation, without stating what the correlate is: thus, father, better, west, etc., are relative terms.
  • In music, having a close melodic or harmonic relation.
  • Same as specific gravity (which see. under gravity).
  • noun Something considered in its relation to something else; one of two things having a certain relation.
  • noun A person connected by blood or affinity; especially, one allied by blood; a kinsman or kinswoman; a relation.
  • noun In grammar, a relative word; a relative pronoun or adverb. See I., 3.
  • noun In logic, a relative term.
  • noun Synonyms Connection, etc. See relation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A person connected by blood or affinity; strictly, one allied by blood; a relation; a kinsman or kinswoman.
  • noun (Gram.) A relative pronoun; a word which relates to, or represents, another word or phrase, called its antecedent.
  • adjective Having relation or reference; referring; respecting; standing in connection; pertaining.
  • adjective Arising from relation; resulting from connection with, or reference to, something else; not absolute.
  • adjective (Gram.) Indicating or expressing relation; refering to an antecedent.
  • adjective (Mus.) Characterizing or pertaining to chords and keys, which, by reason of the identify of some of their tones, admit of a natural transition from one to the other.
  • adjective (Gram.) a clause introduced by a relative pronoun.
  • adjective a term which implies relation to, as guardian to ward, matter to servant, husband to wife. Cf. Correlative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Relevant; pertinent; related.
  • adjective Connected to or depending on something else; not absolute; comparative.
  • adjective grammar That relates to an antecedent.
  • adjective music Having the same key but differing in being major or minor.
  • adjective computing Expressed in relation to another item, rather than in complete form.
  • noun Someone in the same family; someone connected by blood, marriage, or adoption.

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

  • noun an animal or plant that bears a relationship to another (as related by common descent or by membership in the same genus)
  • adjective properly related in size or degree or other measurable characteristics; usually followed by `to'
  • noun a person related by blood or marriage
  • adjective estimated by comparison; not absolute or complete


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

[Middle English, from Old French relatif, from Late Latin relātīvus, from Latin relātus, past participle of referre, to relate; see relate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin relativus, from relatus, perfect passive participle of referre ("to carry back, to ascribe"), from re- ("again") + ferre ("to bear or carry")


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