adjective, lax·er, lax·est.
- not strict or severe; careless or negligent: lax morals; a lax attitude toward discipline.
- loose or slack; not tense, rigid, or firm: a lax rope; a lax handshake.
- not rigidly exact or precise; vague: lax ideas.
- open, loose, or not retentive, as diarrheal bowels.
- (of a person) having the bowels unusually loose or open.
- open or not compact; having a loosely cohering structure; porous: lax tissue; lax texture.
- Phonetics. (of a vowel) articulated with relatively relaxed tongue muscles.Compare tense1(def 4).
- lacking firmness; not strict
- lacking precision or definition
- not taut
- phonetics (of a speech sound) pronounced with little muscular effort and consequently having relatively imprecise accuracy of articulation and little temporal duration. In English the vowel i in bit is lax
- (of flower clusters) having loosely arranged parts
adj.c.1400, “loose” (in reference to bowels), from Latin laxus “wide, loose, open,” figuratively “loose, free, wide,” from PIE root *(s)leg- “to be slack, be languid” (cf. Greek legein “to leave off, stop,” lagos “hare,” literally “with drooping ears,” lagnos “lustful, lascivious,” lagaros “slack, hollow, shrunken;” Latin languere “to be faint, weary,” languidis “faint, weak, dull, sluggish, languid”). Of rules, discipline, etc., attested from mid-15c. n.“salmon,” from Old English leax (see lox).