relationship

relationship
relation, relationship, relatives
As nouns, relation and relative both mean ‘a person related by blood or by marriage’, and both are idiomatic in the plural. For some reason, however, relation is the normal choice in the explicit context of wealth:

• He resented…the mother who had inconsiderately died and left him a poor relation —Julian Symons, 1978.

The state of a person's connection with relations or relatives is his or her relationship, which is also used in the wider context of people's dealings with one another:

• How difficult and unnatural are in-law relationships! —Daily Telegraph, 1970

• You need to consider the quality of the relationship which exists between your son and the teachers, your son and his peers, and between you and the teachers —Where, 1972.

In modern use, relationship has a sexual connotation which should always be borne in mind when using this word:

• She can't forgive me for leaving and I've had to accept that our relationship's finally over —Woman, 1991.

Relation is often preferred to denote the way things (especially concepts and ideas) relate to each other

• (It's now apparent that there's a positive relation between body mass index and the risk of acute coronary events in people with known coronary artery disease —British Medical Journal, 2003)

is the normal choice in meanings to do with activities and procedures, as in the expression business relations, and is the only choice in fixed expressions such as in relation to and bear some (or no etc.) relation to. The plural form relations typically has political connotations, as in good relations, diplomatic relations, foreign relations, etc.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Relationship — • A certain connection of persons established either by nature or by civil or canon law Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Relationship     Relationship      …   Catholic encyclopedia

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  • Relationship — Re*la tion*ship, n. The state of being related by kindred, affinity, or other alliance. Mason. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • relationship — 1744, sense of being related, from RELATION (Cf. relation) + SHIP (Cf. ship). Specifically of romantic or sexual relationships by 1944 …   Etymology dictionary

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  • relationship — ► NOUN 1) the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected. 2) the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other. 3) an emotional and sexual association between two… …   English terms dictionary

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