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1. Considered in comparison or relation to something else: an animal with a large brain relative to body size; the relative quiet of the suburbs.
2. Having pertinence or relevance; connected or related: How are those remarks relative to the discussion?
3. Grammar Referring to or qualifying an antecedent, as the pronoun who in the man who was on TV or that in the dictionary that I use.
4. Music Having the same key signature. Used of major and minor scales and keys: A minor is the relative minor of C major.
a. A person related to another by heredity, adoption, or marriage.
b. A species or other taxon that shares a common ancestor, usually a relatively recent ancestor, with another: The jaguar is a relative of the lion.
2. Grammar A relative pronoun.
[Middle English, from Old French relatif, from Late Latin relātīvus, from Latin relātus, past participle of referre, to relate; see relate.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.