Definition of relative adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    relative

     adjective
    adjective
    BrE BrE//ˈrelətɪv//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈrelətɪv//
     
     
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  1. 1  considered and judged by being compared with something else the relative merits of the two plans
  2. 2  relative (to something) considered according to its position or connection with something else the position of the sun relative to the earth
  3. 3  [only before noun] that exists or that has a particular quality only when compared with something else synonym comparative They now live in relative comfort (= compared with how they lived before). Given the failure of the previous plan, this turned out to be a relative success. It's all relative though, isn't it? We never had any money when I was a kid and $500 was a fortune to us. compare absolute
  4. 4relative to something (formal) having a connection with something; referring to something the facts relative to the case
  5. 5 (grammar) referring to an earlier noun, sentence or part of a sentence In ‘the man who came’, ‘who’ is a relative pronoun and ‘who came’ is a relative clause.
  6. Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French relatif, -ive, from late Latin relativus ‘having reference or relation’, from the verb referre ‘carry back’, from re- ‘back’ + ferre ‘bring’.Extra examples It’s all relative though, isn’t it? We never had any money when I was a kid and $500 was a fortune to us. They now live in relative comfort. You must consider the relative merits of the two plans.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: relative