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[ri-ley-shuh n] /rɪˈleɪ ʃən/
an existing connection; a significant association between or among things:
the relation between cause and effect.
  1. the various connections between peoples, countries, etc.:
    foreign relations.
  2. the various connections in which persons are brought together:
    business and social relations.
  3. sexual intercourse.
the mode or kind of connection between one person and another, between an individual and God, etc.
connection between persons by blood or marriage.
a person who is related by blood or marriage; relative:
his wife's relations.
the act of relating, narrating, or telling; narration.
Law. a principle whereby effect is given to an act done at one time as if it had been done at a previous time.
  1. a property that associates two quantities in a definite order, as equality or inequality.
  2. a single- or multiple-valued function.
in / with relation to, with reference to; concerning:
It's best to plan with relation to anticipated changes in one's earnings.
Origin of relation
1350-1400; Middle English relacion < Latin relātiōn- (stem of relātiō). See relate, -ion
Related forms
relationless, adjective
nonrelation, noun
prerelation, noun
subrelation, noun
1. relationship; tie, link. 2a. association. 4. relationship, kinship. 6. recitation, recital, description.
1. independence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for relation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Much has been said about the relation of the college to the university.

    Cambridge Mildred Anna Rosalie Tuker
  • Mr. Gladstone dwells much on the relation of Homer to Christianity.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • With the Americans on the furnace, the relation was the traditional one.

    Steel Charles Rumford Walker
  • I revert, then, to my statement that God's relation to punishment is chiefly verbal.

  • The relation between Reader and Author is not to be treated so lightly.

    The Gentle Reader Samuel McChord Crothers
British Dictionary definitions for relation


the state or condition of being related or the manner in which things are related
connection by blood or marriage; kinship
a person who is connected by blood or marriage; relative; kinsman
reference or regard (esp in the phrase in or with relation to)
the position, association, connection, or status of one person or thing with regard to another or others
the act of relating or narrating
an account or narrative
(law) the principle by which an act done at one time is regarded in law as having been done antecedently
(law) the statement of grounds of complaint made by a relator
(logic, maths)
  1. an association between ordered pairs of objects, numbers, etc, such as … is greater than …
  2. the set of ordered pairs whose members have such an association
  1. internal relation, a relation that necessarily holds between its relata, as 4 is greater than 2
  2. external relation, a relation that does not so hold
See also relations
Word Origin
C14: from Latin relātiō a narration, a relation (between philosophical concepts)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for relation

late 14c., "connection, correspondence;" also "act of telling," from Anglo-French relacioun, Old French relacion "report, connection" (14c.), from Latin relationem (nominative relatio) "a bringing back, restoring; a report, proposition," from relatus (see relate). Meaning "person related by blood or marriage" first attested c.1500. Stand-alone phrase no relation "not in the same family" is attested by 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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relation in Medicine

relation re·la·tion (rĭ-lā'shən)

  1. A logical or natural association between two or more things; relevance of one to another; connection.

  2. The connection of people by blood or marriage; kinship.

  3. A person connected to another by blood or marriage; a relative.

  4. The positional relationship of the teeth or other structures in the mouth.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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relation in Technology

1. A subset of the product of two sets, R : A x B. If (a, b) is an element of R then we write a R b, meaning a is related to b by R. A relation may be: reflexive (a R a), symmetric (a R b => b R a), transitive (a R b & b R c => a R c), antisymmetric (a R b & b R a => a = b) or total (a R b or b R a).
See equivalence relation, partial ordering, pre-order, total ordering.
2. A table in a relational database.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with relation
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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