verb (used without object)
- to soften in feeling, temper, or determination; become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving.
- to become less severe; slacken: The winds relented.
verb (used with object)
- Obsolete. to cause to soften in feeling, temper, or determination.
- Obsolete. to cause to slacken; abate.
- Obsolete. to abandon; relinquish.
- to change one’s mind about some decided course, esp a harsh one; become more mild or amenable
- (of the pace or intensity of something) to slacken
- (of the weather) to become more mild
late 14c., “to melt, soften, dissolve,” from re- + Latin lentus “slow, viscous, supple” (see lithe), perhaps on model of Old French rallentir. Sense of “become less harsh or cruel” first recorded 1520s. The notion probably is of a hard heart melting with pity. Related: Relented; relenting.