lax

Those parents who let their kids eat all their Halloween candy the night of October 31st? Their parenting style might be described as lax. A paperclip chain used as a bike lock? That's an example of lax security.

While contemplating the word lax, you may note that it's the same as the first syllable in laxative. This is not a coincidence: lax entered English as a noun describing a substance taken or administered to relax the bowels. Interestingly, the modern definition of lax is closer to the Latin source word, laxus — an adjective meaning "loose." Now, lax can refer to any phenomenon that is insufficiently stringent or so slack as to be basically ineffectual. For example, "The entire class performed incredibly well on the test, largely due to the sleepy professor's lax supervision."

Primary Meanings of lax

1.
adj
lacking in rigor or strictness
2.
adj
emptying easily or excessively
3.
adj
pronounced with muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed (e.g., the vowel sound in `bet')
Full Definitions of lax
1

adj lacking in rigor or strictness

“such lax and slipshod ways are no longer acceptable”
lax in attending classes”
Synonyms:
slack
negligent
characterized by neglect and undue lack of concern

adj lacking in strength or firmness or resilience

“a lax rope”
Synonyms:
loose
not tight; not closely constrained or constricted or constricting
drooping, droopy, sagging
hanging down (as from exhaustion or weakness)
limp
lacking in strength or firmness or resilience
floppy
hanging limply
loose, slack
not tense or taut
loose-jointed
loosely articulated or constructed
tensionless
free from tension
Antonyms:
tense
taut or rigid; stretched tight
tight
closely constrained or constricted or constricting
overstrung
too tightly strung
taut, tight
pulled or drawn tight
show more antonyms...
2

adj emptying easily or excessively

Synonyms:
loose
regular, unconstipated
not constipated
3

adj pronounced with muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed (e.g., the vowel sound in `bet')

Antonyms:
tense
pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles (e.g., the vowel sound in `beat')
constricted
especially tense; especially in some dialects
show more antonyms...

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