Dear English-speaking friends! Do you use the word “relations” as a synonym of “relationship”, in the sense of “everything that goes between a romantically-involved couple”? Thanks in advance.


3 Responses to “Relations”

  1. 1 NG 2010-04-05 at 19:59

    No, because people in a romantic relationship are not related (usually). The closest use of relations to what you asked is when you’re trying to refer subtly to the fact that the people in a relationship are sleeping together (ie, having relations).

    Somewhat archaically (older than my parents’ generation), relations and relatives are used interchangeably.

  2. 2 masseylinguists 2010-04-05 at 23:10

    For me at least,relations and relationship are not synonyms. ,relations does have the meaning that you are getting at – some kind of abstract noun naming the ways people interact. Also relations can be used as a euphemism for sex especially in the structure ‘have relations with X’ as NG mentions above.

  3. 3 Simon 2010-04-06 at 10:28

    I would use it of organizations or countries, e.g. “Microsoft has (un)friendly relations with Apple”, not so much with people, and certainly not of a couple. It seems like a closer synonym to “interactions” than “relationship”, and also to imply more of a casual connection than an established partnership. The “euphemism for sex” that people have mentioned is I think mostly used in legal contexts: “the accused had relations with the complainant”.

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