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From Latin re- + lentus.

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Particularly: “explain”

From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman relentir, from Latin re- + lentare to bend, from lentus soft, pliant, slow. Date 1526 -



relent ‎(plural relents)

  1. Stay; stop; delay.

Derived terms[edit]



relent ‎(third-person singular simple present relents, present participle relenting, simple past and past participle relented)

  1. To become less severe or intense; to become less hard, harsh, or cruel; to soften in temper; to become more mild and tender; to feel compassion.
    He relented of his plan to murder his opponent, and decided just to teach him a lesson instead.
    I did, I suppose, hope that she might finally relent a little and make some conciliatory response or other. (from "The Remains of the Day"‎ by Kazuo Ishiguro)
    • Shakespeare
      Can you [] behold / My sighs and tears, and will not once relent?
  2. To slacken; to abate.
    We waited for the storm to relent before we ventured outside.
    He will not relent in his effort to reclaim his victory.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To lessen, make less severe or fast.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.iv:
      But nothing might relent her hastie flight; / So deepe the deadly feare of that foule swaine / Was earst impressed in her gentle spright [...].
  4. (dated) To become less rigid or hard; to soften; to yield; to dissolve; to melt; to deliquesce.
    • Boyle
      [Salt of tartar] placed in a cellar will [] begin to relent.
    • Alexander Pope
      When opening buds salute the welcome day, / And earth, relenting, feels the genial ray.