Etymology
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relax (v.)

late 14c., relaxen, "to make (something) less compact or dense" (transitive), originally especially in medicine, of muscles, etc., from Old French relaschier "set free; soften; reduce" (14c.) and directly from Latin relaxare "relax, loosen, open, stretch out, widen again; make loose," from re- "back" (see re-) + laxare "loosen," from laxus "loose" (from PIE root *sleg- "be slack, be languid"). A doublet of release.

Meaning "decrease tension" is from early 15c. From 1660s as "to make less severe or rigorous." Intransitive sense of "become loose or languid" is by 1762; that of "become less tense" is recorded from 1935. Of persons, "to become less formal," by 1837. Related: Relaxed; relaxing. As a noun, "relaxation, an act of relaxing," from 17c.

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Definitions of relax

relax (v.)
become less tense, rest, or take one's ease;
He relaxed in the hot tub
Let's all relax after a hard day's work
Synonyms: loosen up / unbend / unwind / decompress / slow down
relax (v.)
make less taut;
relax the tension on the rope
Synonyms: unbend
relax (v.)
become loose or looser or less tight;
the rope relaxed
Synonyms: loosen / loose
relax (v.)
cause to feel relaxed;
Synonyms: unstrain / unlax / loosen up / unwind / make relaxed
relax (v.)
become less tense, less formal, or less restrained, and assume a friendlier manner;
our new colleague relaxed when he saw that we were a friendly group
Synonyms: loosen up
relax (v.)
make less severe or strict;
The government relaxed the curfew after most of the rebels were caught
Synonyms: loosen
relax (v.)
become less severe or strict;
The rules relaxed after the new director arrived
Synonyms: loosen
relax (v.)
make less active or fast;
Don't relax your efforts now
Synonyms: slack / slacken / slack up
From wordnet.princeton.edu