Meaning of RELATIVE in English

adj. & n.


1. considered or having significance in relation to something else (relative velocity).

2 (foll. by to) having existence only as perceived or considered by (beauty is relative to the eye of the beholder).

3 (foll. by to) proportioned to (something else) (growth is relative to input).

4 implying comparison or contextual relation ('heat' is a relative word).

5 comparative; compared one with another (their relative advantages).

6 having mutual relations; corresponding in some way; related to each other.

7 (foll. by to) having reference or relating (the facts relative to the issue).

8 involving a different but corresponding idea (the concepts of husband and wife are relative to each other).

9 Gram. a (of a word, esp. a pronoun) referring to an expressed or implied antecedent and attaching a subordinate clause to it, e.g. which, who. b (of a clause) attached to an antecedent by a relative word.

10 Mus. (of major and minor keys) having the same key signature.

11 (of a service rank) corresponding in grade to another in a different service.

12 pertinent, relevant; related to the subject (need more relative proof).


1. a person connected by blood or marriage.

2 a species related to another by common origin (the apes, man's closest relatives).

3 Gram. a relative word, esp. a pronoun.

4 Philos. a relative thing or term.

Phrases and idioms:

relative atomic mass the ratio of the average mass of one atom of an element to one twelfth of the mass of an atom of carbon-12: also called atomic weight. relative density Chem. the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usu. water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas. relative molecular mass the ratio of the average mass of one molecule of an element or compound to one twelfth of the mass of an atom of carbon-12: also called molecular weight.


relatival adj. (in sense 3 of n.). relatively adv. relativeness n.

Etymology: ME f. OF relatif -ive or LL relativus having reference or relation (as RELATE)

Oxford English vocab.      Оксфордский английский словарь.