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."

Definitions of lax
  1. adjective
    lacking in rigor or strictness
    “such lax and slipshod ways are no longer acceptable”
    lax in attending classes”
    synonyms: slack
    characterized by neglect and undue lack of concern
  2. adjective
    lacking in strength or firmness or resilience
    “a lax rope”
    not tight; not closely constrained or constricted or constricting
    drooping, droopy, sagging
    hanging down (as from exhaustion or weakness)
    lacking in strength or firmness or resilience
    hanging limply
    loose, slack
    not tense or taut
    loosely articulated or constructed
    free from tension
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    taut or rigid; stretched tight
    closely constrained or constricted or constricting
    too tightly strung
    taut, tight
    pulled or drawn tight
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  3. adjective
    emptying easily or excessively
    synonyms: loose
    regular, unconstipated
    not constipated
  4. adjective
    pronounced with muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed (e.g., the vowel sound in `bet')
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    pronounced with relatively tense tongue muscles (e.g., the vowel sound in `beat')
    especially tense; especially in some dialects
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Word Family