Relation is a word that can describe a connection — between relatives or any two entities. You might consider your cousin as your relation, and you might have strained relations with him over your grandmother's estate.

The way that one thing affects another is their relation like the relation between childhood poverty and poor nutrition, for example. You can also call your relative a relation, as when you describe your great-grandfather as your oldest living relation. The phrase no relation means that even though two people share the same last name, they are not related — or aren't relations.

Primary Meanings of relation

an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together
a person related by blood or marriage
an act of narration
the act of engaging in sexual intercourse
(usually plural) mutual dealings or connections among persons or groups
(law) the principle that an act done at a later time is deemed by law to have occurred at an earlier time
Full Definitions of relation

n an abstraction belonging to or characteristic of two entities or parts together

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anything owned or possessed
social relation
a relation between living organisms (especially between people)
position, spatial relation
the spatial property of a place where or way in which something is situated
the relation of an owner to the thing possessed; possession with the right to transfer possession to others
the relation between causes and effects
human relationship, relationship
a relation between people; (`relationship' is often used where `relation' would serve, as in `the relationship between inflation and unemployment', but the preferred usage of `relationship' is for human relations or states of relatedness)
a relation such that one thing is dependent on another
a relation resulting from interaction or dependence
logical relation
a relation between propositions
mathematical relation
a relation between mathematical expressions (such as equality or inequality)
the basis on which something is grounded
connectedness, connection, connexion
a relation between things or events (as in the case of one causing the other or sharing features with it)
the lack of a connection between things
linguistic relation
a relation between linguistic forms or constituents
component, component part, constituent, moiety, part, portion
something determined in relation to something that includes it
affinity, kinship
a close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character
family relationship, kinship, relationship
(anthropology) relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
magnitude relation, quantitative relation
a relation between magnitudes
a relation of constraint of one entity (thing or person or group) by another
business relation
a relation between different business enterprises
reciprocality, reciprocity
a relation of mutual dependence or action or influence
interrelatedness, interrelation, interrelationship
mutual or reciprocal relation or relatedness
temporal relation
a relation involving time
relation based on similarities and differences
oppositeness, opposition
the relation between opposed entities
a relational difference between states; especially between states before and after some event
the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists
(dentistry) the normal spatial relation of the teeth when the jaws are closed
inclination, lean, leaning, list, tilt
the property possessed by a line or surface that departs from the vertical
gradient, slope
the property possessed by a line or surface that departs from the horizontal
arrangement, placement
the spatial property of the way in which something is placed
point of view
the spatial property of the position from which something is observed
the quality of occupying the same position or area in space
dead center, dead centre
the position of a crank when it is in line with the connecting rod and not exerting torque
the property of being central
the property of being marginal or on the fringes
the quality of being in front or (in lower animals) toward the head
the quality of being toward the back or toward the rear end
externality, outwardness
the quality or state of being outside or directed toward or relating to the outside or exterior
the quality or state of being inward or internal
malposition, misplacement
faulty position
the property of being to the north
the property of being to the south
the quality of being parallel to the horizon
erectness, uprightness, verticality, verticalness
position at right angles to the horizon
language unit, linguistic unit
one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed
a position in a grammatical linguistic construction in which a variety of alternative units are interchangeable
item, point
a distinct part that can be specified separately in a group of things that could be enumerated on a list
the part of a plant from which the roots spring or the part of a stalk or trunk nearest the roots
common ownership
exclusive individual ownership
property right
the legal right of ownership
proprietary, proprietorship
an unincorporated business owned by a single person who is responsible for its liabilities and entitled to its profits
employee ownership
ownership of a business by the people who work for it
belongings, holding, property
something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone
ownership of land; the state or fact of owning land
white elephant
a valuable possession whose upkeep is excessively expensive
transferred possession, transferred property
a possession whose ownership changes or lapses
a person's financial situation (good or bad)
anything of material value or usefulness that is owned by a person or company
ownership of stocks; the state or fact of holding stock
any possession that is highly valued by its owner
anything that is owed to someone else
elbow room, room, way
space for movement
dealings, relations
mutual dealings or connections or communications among persons or groups
a cooperative relationship between people or groups who agree to share responsibility for achieving some specific goal
personal relation, personal relationship
a relation between persons
two propositions are contradictories if both cannot be true (or both cannot be false) at the same time
a logical relation such that two propositions are contraries if both cannot be true but both can be false
function, map, mapping, mathematical function, single-valued function
(mathematics) a mathematical relation such that each element of a given set (the domain of the function) is associated with an element of another set (the range of the function)
(mathematics) a relation between a pair of integers: if both integers are odd or both are even they have the same parity; if one is odd and the other is even they have different parity
basis, footing, ground
a relation that provides the foundation for something
grass roots
the essential foundation or source
(electronics) connection of components in such a manner that current flows first through one and then through the other
alliance, bond
a connection based on kinship or marriage or common interest
an associative relation
a connection allowing access between persons or places
the linking together of a consecutive series of symbols or events or ideas etc
something resembling a bridge in form or function
a connection of inclusion or containment
relevance, relevancy
the relation of something to the matter at hand
a particular manner of connectedness
irrelevance, irrelevancy
the lack of a relation of something to the matter at hand
the lack of any particular manner of connectedness
grammatical relation
a linguistic relation established by grammar
(logic and mathematics) a relation between three elements such that if it holds between the first and second and it also holds between the second and third it must necessarily hold between the first and third
reflexiveness, reflexivity
(logic and mathematics) a relation such that it holds between an element and itself
modality, mode
a classification of propositions on the basis of whether they claim necessity or possibility or impossibility
semantic relation
a relation between meanings
the relation between two words that are spelled the same way but differ in meaning or the relation between two words that are pronounced the same way but differ in meaning
base, basis
the most important or necessary part of something
detail, item, particular
a small part that can be considered separately from the whole
an individual or group or structure or other entity regarded as a structural or functional constituent of a whole
anything that belongs to a set or class
balance, remainder, residual, residue, residuum, rest
something left after other parts have been taken away
a part of a part
rapport, resonance
a relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people
a relation of affinity or harmony between people; whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other
affinity, phylogenetic relation
(biology) state of relationship between organisms or groups of organisms resulting in resemblance in structure or structural parts
descent, filiation, line of descent, lineage
the kinship relation between an individual and the individual's progenitors
(anthropology) kinship by marriage or adoption; not a blood relationship
blood kinship, cognation, consanguinity
(anthropology) related by blood
birth, parentage
the kinship relation of an offspring to the parents
fatherhood, paternity
the kinship relation between an offspring and the father
maternity, motherhood
the kinship relation between an offspring and the mother
sisterhood, sistership
the kinship relation between a female offspring and the siblings
the kinship relation between a male offspring and the siblings
marital bed, marital relationship
the relationship between wife and husband
relative magnitude
proportion, ratio
the relation between things (or parts of things) with respect to their comparative quantity, magnitude, or degree
the relative magnitudes of two quantities (usually expressed as a quotient)
the spatial relation between something and the course along which it points or moves
angular position
relation by which any position with respect to any other position is established
a business relation in which two parties compete to gain customers
relation of a client to a patron
professional relation
the relation that exists when one person requests and is granted professional help from a qualified source
political relation, politics
social relations involving intrigue to gain authority or power
alchemy, chemistry, interpersonal chemistry
the way two individuals relate to each other
the interrelation of reciprocity whereby one thing supplements or depends on the other
correlation, correlativity
a reciprocal relation between two or more things
interdependence, interdependency, mutuality
a reciprocal relation between interdependent entities (objects or individuals or groups)
mutuality, mutualness
a reciprocality of sentiments
something (a term or expression or concept) that has a reciprocal relation to something else
the interrelation of conscious and unconscious processes and emotions that determine personality and motivation
antecedent, forerunner
anything that precedes something similar in time
an arrangement of events in time
synchroneity, synchronicity, synchronisation, synchronism, synchronization, synchronizing, synchrony
the relation that exists when things occur at the same time
asynchronism, asynchrony, desynchronisation, desynchronization, desynchronizing
the relation that exists when things occur at unrelated times
imaginative comparison
the kind of mental comparison that is expressed in similes or metaphors or allegories
direct opposite
exact opposite
opposition in a work of drama or fiction between characters or forces (especially an opposition that motivates the development of the plot)
contrast, direct contrast
the opposition or dissimilarity of things that are compared
flip side
a different aspect of something (especially the opposite aspect)
mutual opposition, polarity
a relation between two opposite attributes or tendencies
gradable opposition
an opposition that is capable of being graded
polarity, sign
the state of having an indicated pole (as the distinction between positive and negative electric charges)
ungradable opposition
an opposition that has no intermediate grade; either one or the other
the relation that exists when opposites cannot coexist
opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas
exact opposition
the relation between contraries
tertium quid
some third thing similar to two opposites but distinct from both
contrary, opposite, reverse
a relation of direct opposition
inverse, opposite
something inverted in sequence or character or effect
a significant change
a graded change in the magnitude of some physical quantity or dimension
conditional relation, implication, logical implication
a logical relation between propositions p and q of the form `if p then q'; if p is true then q cannot be false
the relation between opposing principles or forces or factors
a magnitude or frequency relative to a time unit
Type of:
abstract entity, abstraction
a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples

n a person related by blood or marriage

“he has distant relations back in New Jersey”
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ancestor, antecedent, ascendant, ascendent, root
someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)
cousin, cousin-german, first cousin, full cousin
the child of your aunt or uncle
descendant, descendent
a person considered as descended from some ancestor or race
in-law, relative-in-law
a relative by marriage
blood relation, blood relative, cognate, sib
one related by blood or origin; especially on sharing an ancestor with another
family, kin, kinsperson
a person having kinship with another or others
enate, matrikin, matrilineal kin, matrilineal sib, matrisib
one related on the mother's side
agnate, patrikin, patrilineal kin, patrilineal sib, patrisib
one related on the father's side
a male relative
a female relative
kissing cousin, kissing kin
a more or less distant relative; familiar enough to be greeted with a kiss
next of kin
the person who is (or persons who are) most closely related to a given person
issue, offspring, progeny
the immediate descendants of a person
second cousin
a child of your parent's first cousin
sib, sibling
a person's brother or sister
better half, married person, mate, partner, spouse
a person's partner in marriage
(anthropology) kin by marriage
a woman ancestor
aunt, auntie, aunty
the sister of your father or mother; the wife of your uncle
the youngest member of a group (not necessarily young)
bastard, by-blow, illegitimate, illegitimate child, love child, whoreson
the illegitimate offspring of unmarried parents
someone who marries one person while already legally married to another
a brother by marriage
child, kid
a human offspring (son or daughter) of any age
a member of a clan or tribe
the husband or wife of a reigning monarch
the wife of your son
the father of your spouse
female sibling
a person's sister
eldest, firstborn
the offspring who came first in the order of birth
forbear, forebear
a person from whom you are descended
father, forefather, sire
the founder of a family
a woman ancestor
primogenitor, progenitor
an ancestor in the direct line
a child of your son or daughter
half blood
one of siblings who have only one parent in common
helpmate, helpmeet
a helpful partner
hubby, husband, married man
a married man; a woman's partner in marriage
male sibling
a sibling who is male
monogamist, monogynist
someone who practices monogamy (one spouse at a time)
the mother of your spouse
a son of your brother or sister
honeymooner, newlywed
someone recently married
a daughter of your brother or sister
someone who is married to two or more people at the same time
quad, quadruplet
one of four children born at the same time from the same pregnancy
quin, quint, quintuplet
one of five children born at the same time from the same pregnancy
a descendent or heir
the sister of your spouse
the husband of your daughter
heir, successor
a person who inherits some title or office
one of three offspring born at the same time from the same pregnancy
either of two offspring born at the same time from the same pregnancy
the brother of your father or mother; the husband of your aunt
married woman, wife
a married woman; a man's partner in marriage
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

n an act of narration

“he was the hero according to his own relation
recounting, telling
Type of:
narration, recital, yarn
the act of giving an account describing incidents or a course of events

n the act of engaging in sexual intercourse

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the act of depriving a woman of her virginity (especially by rupturing the hymen through sexual intercourse)
roll in the hay
slang for sexual intercourse
hank panky
illicit sexual intercourse
the act (by a man) of inserting his penis into the vagina of a woman
criminal congress
forbidden or tabu sexual intercourse between individuals
extramarital sex, free love
sexual intercourse between individuals who are not married to one another
sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry (as between a parent and a child)
Type of:
sex, sex activity, sexual activity, sexual practice
activities associated with sexual intercourse

n (usually plural) mutual dealings or connections among persons or groups

“international relations
Type of:
dealings, traffic
social or verbal interchange (usually followed by `with')

n (law) the principle that an act done at a later time is deemed by law to have occurred at an earlier time

“his attorney argued for the relation back of the amended complaint to the time the initial complaint was filed”
relation back
Type of:
judicial doctrine, judicial principle, legal principle
(law) a principle underlying the formulation of jurisprudence

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