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[ri-lent] /rɪˈlɛnt/
verb (used without object)
to soften in feeling, temper, or determination; become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving.
to become less severe; slacken:
The winds relented.
verb (used with object)
Obsolete. to cause to soften in feeling, temper, or determination.
Obsolete. to cause to slacken; abate.
Obsolete. to abandon; relinquish.
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin *relentāre, equivalent to Latin re- re- + lentāre to bend, derivative of lentus flexible, viscous, slow
Related forms
relentingly, adverb
nonrelenting, adjective
unrelented, adjective
1. bend, yield. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for relented
  • We relented one morning, and against our better judgment opened the coop door and bid them adieu.
  • People's determination to reunite with their families was so strong that the state relented.
  • After backlash from agency groups, they relented and modified their planned changes.
  • When the scale of the catastrophe became clear, they relented and invited aid groups back.
  • The commission relented and held the comment period open longer only after consumers and affected businesses protested.
  • At first, the firefighter turned down the offer, but finally relented.
  • As predicted, the agent there held them up, then finally relented.
  • Camp officials eventually relented and allowed her to be moved to the prison's medical center.
British Dictionary definitions for relented


verb (intransitive)
to change one's mind about some decided course, esp a harsh one; become more mild or amenable
(of the pace or intensity of something) to slacken
(of the weather) to become more mild
Word Origin
C14: from re- + Latin lentāre to bend, from lentus flexible, tenacious
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 relented



late 14c., "to melt, soften, dissolve," from re- + Latin lentus "slow, viscous, supple" (see lithe), perhaps on model of Old French rallentir. Sense of "become less harsh or cruel" first recorded 1520s. The notion probably is of a hard heart melting with pity. Related: Relented; relenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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