Definition for REL'A-TIVE


  1. A person connected by blood or affinity; strictly, one allied by blood; a relation; a kinsman or kinswoman. Confining our care either to ourselves and relatives. – Fell.
  2. That which has relation to something else. – Locke.
  3. In grammar, a word which relates to or represents another word, called its antecedent, or to a sentence or member of a sentence, or to a series of sentences, which constitutes its antecedent. “He seldom lives frugally, who lives by chance.” Here who is the relative, which represents he, the antecedent. “Judas declared him innocent, which he could not be, had he deceived his disciples.” – Porteus. Here which refers to innocent, an adjective, as its antecedent. “Another reason that makes me doubt of any innate practical principles, is, that I think there can not any one moral rule be proposed, whereof a man may not justly demand a reason; which would be perfectly ridiculous and absurd, if they were innate, or so much as self-evident, which every innate principle must needs be.” – Locke. If we ask the question, what would be ridiculous and absurd, the answer must be, whereof a man may justly demand a reason, and this part of the sentence is the antecedent to which. Self-evident is the antecedent to which near the close of the sentence.

Return to page 75 of the letter “R”.