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

  • adj. Having pertinence or relevance; connected or related.
  • adj. Considered in comparison with something else: the relative quiet of the suburbs.
  • adj. Dependent on or interconnected with something else; not absolute. See Synonyms at dependent.
  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Music Having the same key signature. Used of major and minor scales and keys: A minor is the relative minor of C major.
  • n. One related by kinship, common origin, or marriage.
  • n. Something having a relation or connection to something else.
  • n. Grammar A relative pronoun.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having relation or reference; referring; respecting; standing in connection; pertaining.
  • adj. Arising from relation; resulting from connection with, or reference to, something else; not absolute.
  • adj. Indicating or expressing relation; refering to an antecedent.
  • adj. 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.
  • n. A person connected by blood or affinity; strictly, one allied by blood; a relation; a kinsman or kinswoman.
  • n. A relative pronoun; a word which relates to, or represents, another word or phrase, called its antecedent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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).
  • n. Something considered in its relation to something else; one of two things having a certain relation.
  • n. A person connected by blood or affinity; especially, one allied by blood; a kinsman or kinswoman; a relation.
  • n. In grammar, a relative word; a relative pronoun or adverb. See I., 3.
  • n. In logic, a relative term.
  • n. Synonyms Connection, etc. See relation.

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

  • n. an animal or plant that bears a relationship to another (as related by common descent or by membership in the same genus)
  • adj. properly related in size or degree or other measurable characteristics; usually followed by `to'
  • n. a person related by blood or marriage
  • adj. 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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