verb (used with object), re·lat·ed, re·lat·ing.

  1. to tell; give an account of (an event, circumstance, etc.).
  2. to bring into or establish association, connection, or relation: to relate events to probable causes.

verb (used without object), re·lat·ed, re·lat·ing.

  1. to have reference (often followed by to).
  2. to have some relation (often followed by to).
  3. to establish a social or sympathetic relationship with a person or thing: two sisters unable to relate to each other.


  1. (tr) to tell or narrate (a story, information, etc)
  2. (often foll by to) to establish association (between two or more things) or (of something) to have relation or reference (to something else)
  3. (intr often foll by to) to form a sympathetic or significant relationship (with other people, things, etc)

1520s, “to recount, tell,” from Middle French relater “refer, report” (14c.) and directly from Latin relatus, used as past participle of referre “bring back, bear back” (see refer), from re- “back, again” + latus (see oblate (n.)).

Meaning “stand in some relation; have reference or respect” is from 1640s; transitive sense of “bring (something) into relation with (something else)” is from 1690s. Meaning “to establish a relation between” is from 1771. Sense of “to feel connected or sympathetic to” is attested from 1950, originally in psychology jargon. Related: Related; relating.

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