Meaning of RELATIVE in English

I. rel ‧ a ‧ tive 1 S3 W3 /ˈrelətɪv/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ relation , relations, ↑ relationship , ↑ relative ; adjective : ↑ related ≠ ↑ unrelated , ↑ relative ; verb : ↑ relate ; adverb : ↑ relatively ]

a member of your family SYN relation :

a gathering of friends and relatives

a close/distant relative

Her boyfriend is a distant relative of mine.

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ a close relative (=a brother, parent, aunt etc)

He lost several close relatives in the war.

▪ a distant relative

She claims to be a distant relative of the Queen.

▪ a blood relative (=one related by birth not marriage)

332 kidneys were donated last year by blood relatives or spouses.

▪ a living/surviving relative

As far as she knew, she had no living relatives.

■ phrases

▪ a relative by marriage

How many women would be willing to care for distant relatives by marriage?

▪ friends and relatives

About thirty-five close friends and relatives attended the wedding.

• • •


▪ relative a member of your family, especially one who does not live with you:

Most of her relatives were able to come to the wedding.


We have some distant relatives in Australia.

▪ relation a member of your family. Relation means the same as relative . It is often used when talking about whether someone is in the same family as another person:

Big cities can be lonely places if you have no friends or relations there.


‘What relation is she to you?’ ‘She’s my half sister.’


He’s no relation to the singer.

▪ descendant someone who is a family member of a person who lived and died a long time ago, for example the great-grandchild of that person:

The people are the descendants of slaves who were brought over from Africa.

▪ ancestor a member of your family who lived a long time ago, especially hundreds of years ago:

My ancestors originally came from Ireland.

▪ forefathers especially written people in your family who lived a long time ago - often used in historical descriptions:

His forefathers came to America over a century ago.

▪ extended family a family group that consists not only of parents and children, but also includes grandparents, aunts etc:

Extended families rarely live together in Britain, but they are still important.

▪ folks especially American English informal your family, especially your parents:

Are you going to see your folks at Christmas?

▪ next of kin the person or people who are most closely related to you, for example your husband or mother, and who need to be told if something serious happens to you:

The next of kin must be notified of his death before his name is released to the press.

II. relative 2 W2 BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ relation , relations, ↑ relationship , ↑ relative ; adjective : ↑ related ≠ ↑ unrelated , ↑ relative ; verb : ↑ relate ; adverb : ↑ relatively ]

1 . having a particular quality when compared with something else:

The relative merits of both approaches have to be considered.

her opponent’s relative lack of experience

You may think you’re poor, but it’s all relative (=you are not poor compared to some people) .

2 . relative to something formal connected with a particular subject:

facts relative to this issue

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.