Definition of relativity in English:



  • 1The absence of standards of absolute and universal application.

    ‘moral relativity’
    • ‘This relativity does affect our attitudes towards age and life.’
    • ‘These people constantly lecture the rest of us on being responsible for our actions, asserting that there's no relativity when it comes to good and evil.’
    • ‘Anthropologists have begun to question their previous views on the cultural relativity of emotional experience.’
    • ‘But in an age of DVDs, where the film-makers come back to talk about how they did it, so the relativity of decision-making is growing all the while.’
    • ‘A response based on contemporary legal norms is unavoidable though the debate on cultural relativity and universality continues.’
    • ‘While we recognize the relativity of any system of beliefs, we do not want to give up on them all, lest we give up on the hope of changing the world.’
    • ‘This is a nostalgia for a different system of values, and its difference from Western moral attitudes serves to highlight the relativity of value systems in East and West, and Ralph's dilemma in striving to live by a hybrid of the two.’
    • ‘The apparent relativity of the moral impulse is an illusion which is created by the mind for the mind's own purposes.’
    • ‘Ferran also raises issues about authenticity, authorship and confidentiality; Chien Chi about cultural relativity.’
    • ‘Welker claims his real concern is moral relativity.’
    • ‘Mr Cowen said the benchmarking system has rid the public sector of relativity clauses that had serious flaws allowing groups with no connections to argue for similar wage deals.’
    • ‘The world is relativity and relativity has limitations.’
    • ‘I definitely believe in a weak version of linguistic relativity.’
    • ‘Having to resort to a cruel and unusual punishment adds a moral relativity that is profoundly provocative.’
    • ‘Obviously, in the wake of postmodernism we are looking to build up new foundations for ourselves within the context of our newly-acquired radical consciousness of relativity.’
    • ‘Thus, forms of moral relativism assert the relativity of moral values; forms of epistemological relativism assert the relativity of knowledge.’
    • ‘On the other hand, moral relativism asserts the relativity of morality.’
    • ‘Heaped upon itself it becomes dangerously unstable, at some point reversing a fundamental theory of political relativity and becoming the one thing it should never be - the story itself.’
    • ‘The late Herbert Stein essayed on the relativity of wealth in 1996 for the Journal editorial page in an article titled ‘Am I Better Off?’’
  • 2Physics
    The dependence of various physical phenomena on relative motion of the observer and the observed objects, especially regarding the nature and behavior of light, space, time, and gravity.

    • ‘Penrose introduced the scope of modern physics and followed with a description of possible models of the universe based on criteria from the theory of relativity, including the effect of singularities.’
    • ‘Because there are things in the universe that exist or did exist that are very heavy, thus general relativity applies, but these things are also very compact and small, so quantum mechanics applies.’
    • ‘According to general relativity, gravitational differences affect time by dilating it.’
    • ‘General relativity explains the behaviour of gravity and its effect on both matter and energy.’
    • ‘In 1922, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann predicted from general relativity that the universe should be expanding.’