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relative +‎ -ly


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɛl.ə.tɪ
    • (US, Canada) IPA(key): (enunciated) [ˈɹɛl.ə.tʰɪ], (flapped) [ˈɹɛl.ə.ɾɪ][note 1]
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relatively (not comparable)

  1. Proportionally, in relation to some larger scale thing.
    He measured his success relatively, that is, competitively.
    • 2011 October 1, Saj Chowdhury, “Wolverhampton 1 - 2 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Alan Pardew's current squad has been put together with a relatively low budget but the resolve and unity within the team is priceless.
  2. (sometimes proscribed) Somewhat.
    He was relatively successful.

Usage notes[edit]

The word literally means "compared with", but some now use relatively to mean "moderately" or "somewhat" (perhaps in the sense of "compared to the average/expectation"), which is sometimes proscribed.



  1. ^ In General American and Canadian English, the flapped [ɾ] pronunciation [ˈɹɛl.ə.ɾɪv] of relative is more common than the aspirated [tʰ] pronunciation [ˈɹɛl.ə.tʰɪv]; but in the derived adverb relatively, the aspirated pronunciation [ˈɹɛl.ə.tʰɪ] is more common, though the flap-t version can still be heard, especially in casual speech.