an existing connection; a significant association between or among things: the relation between cause and effect.
the various connections between peoples, countries, etc.: foreign relations.
the various connections in which persons are brought together: business and social relations.
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.
a property that associates two quantities in a definite order, as equality or inequality.
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.

1350–1400; Middle English relacion < Latin relātiōn- (stem of relātiō). See relate, -ion

relationless, adjective
nonrelation, noun
prerelation, noun
subrelation, noun

1. relationship; tie, link. 2a, b. association. 4. relationship, kinship. 6. recitation, recital, description.

1. independence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
relation (rɪˈleɪʃən)
1.  the state or condition of being related or the manner in which things are related
2.  connection by blood or marriage; kinship
3.  a person who is connected by blood or marriage; relative; kinsman
4.  reference or regard (esp in the phrase inorwith relation to)
5.  the position, association, connection, or status of one person or thing with regard to another or others
6.  the act of relating or narrating
7.  an account or narrative
8.  law the principle by which an act done at one time is regarded in law as having been done antecedently
9.  law the statement of grounds of complaint made by a relator
10.  logic, maths
 a.  an association between ordered pairs of objects, numbers, etc, such as … is greater than …
 b.  the set of ordered pairs whose members have such an association
11.  philosophy
 a.  internal relation a relation that necessarily holds between its relata, as 4 is greater than 2
 b.  external relation a relation that does not so hold
[C14: from Latin relātiō a narration, a relation (between philosophical concepts)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. relacioun, O.Fr. relacion (14c.), from L. relationem (nom. relatio) "a bringing back, restoring," 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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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Computing Dictionary

relation definition

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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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see poor relation; relative (in relation) to.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Writer tells about his kind stepmother and her family, who treated him as a genuine relation.
Similar questions, however, seldom come up in relation to people.
Charges may have little relation to costs and often lean to one side of the
Simply imposing a deadline-whether it was two or eight months away-reversed the
  mind's relation between work and time.
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