v. re·laxed, re·lax·ing, re·lax·es
1. To make lax or loose: relax one's grip.
2. To make less severe or strict: relax a curfew.
3. To reduce in intensity; slacken: relax one's efforts.
4. To relieve from tension or strain: The warm bath relaxed me.
1. To take one's ease; rest.
2. To become lax or loose.
3. To become less severe or strict.
4. To become less restrained or tense.
[Middle English relaxen, from Old French relaxer, from Latin relaxāre : re-, re- + laxāre, to loosen (from laxus, loose; see slēg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.