relent

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English relenten, from Anglo-Norman relentir, from Latin re- + lentare (to bend), from lentus (soft, pliant, slow). Earliest recording dates to 1526.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ɹɪˈlɛnt/
  • Rhymes: -ɛnt
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

relent (plural relents)

  1. Stay; stop; delay.
    • 2015, Mel Parson, First Sign of Trouble (song)
      There was no relent, my dear, as we pulled each other in.
  2. (obsolete) A relenting.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (intransitive) 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 had planned to ground his son for a month, but relented and decided to give him a stern lecture instead.
  2. (intransitive) 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 intense.
    • 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, intransitive) To become less rigid or hard; to soften; to yield; to dissolve; to melt; to deliquesce.
    • 1669, Robert Boyle, The History of Fluidity and Firmness
      [Salt of tartar] placed in a cellar will [] begin to relent.
    • 1717, Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard:
      When opening buds salute the welcome day, / And earth, relenting, feels the genial ray.

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

relent (comparative more relent, superlative most relent)

  1. (obsolete) softhearted; yielding

References[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

relent m (plural relents)

  1. lingering smell (usually bad); stench
  2. (figuratively) overtone

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Verb[edit]

relent

  1. Alternative form of relenten