The Meaning of Lax: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of lax? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word lax, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word lax mean?

According to The Free Dictionary of the English Language and the opinion of Merriam-Webster, the word lax (adj.) has numerous different meanings. Generally, this refers to something that is loose or slack, not firm, negligent or not having strictness. This can be used to describe the movement of bowels as well as in linguistics or phonetics to mean a speech sound pronounced with the muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed. Many things can be lax, including a lax attitude, lax morals, a lax rope, lax texture, a lax handshake, lax tissue, a reaction of lax indifference, lax expenditure, lax business transparency laws, and more. The pronunciation of lax is laks or læks.

The word LAX is also an abbreviation for the sport lacrosse, which is a sport played with a stick with a net head on it made of compact plastic where the mesh, sidewall and pocket form. Originally an indigenous sport, this was introduced to the St. Leonard’s School in St. Andrews, Scotland in 1890.  It is also an abbreviation for the Los Angeles International Airport.

The word lax is also present in many different languages to mean loose or relaxed You may notice that many of these words look and sound similar to the word lax, or are even cognates for the word lax. This occurs when two words in different languages have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word lax is provided by Word Sense.

  •  French: laxiste‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Czech: uvolněný‎, laxní‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: socair‎, saor‎
  •  Swedish: slapp‎
  •  Italian: lasso‎ (masc.), lassista‎
  •  Spanish: laxo‎
  •  Portuguese: leniente‎
  •  German: lax‎
  •  Greek: επιεικής‎ (masc.) (f), ελαστικός‎ (masc.), χαλαρός‎ (masc.)
  •  Irish: neamartach‎
  •  Armenian: մեղմ‎
  •  Finnish: löysä‎, höllä‎, väljä‎
  •  Georgian: არამკაცრი‎, ლმობიერი‎, ტოლერანტული‎
  •  Russian: нестро́гий‎, необяза́тельный‎
  •  Hungarian: laza‎, rugalmas‎

What is the origin of the word lax?

According to Etymonline, the word lax has been used since the C14 Middle English. This comes from the Latin laxus and Old French lasch, as well as other Proto-Germanic roots that give us the Old English leas, Middle Dutch lacks, Danish laks, lahsaz German lachs, and others. This word is of  Indo-European roots.

How can the word lax be used in a sentence?

There are many recent examples of the current usage of the word lax. Using words in a sentence is a great way to add them to your vocabulary and memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it could become a new favorite. Below are several examples of the word lax to help get you started.

Washington Post, USA Today, and various online news sources were revealed to have bad management and lax harassment policies on Twitter and Facebook.

While she thought her new job at Platinum Advertising would be full of rigor, requiring all of her resilience, the export pipelines and feedback on her first ad were surprisingly lax.

The Shell Corporation divided to reform their lax division of authority and implement a restoration of strict protocol after the incident.

Marytts sold her flower clusters in a lax fashion, not really caring who bought them or how much money she made. She gave a limp handshake to a woman who bought a salmon-colored bouquet. 

The police need stricter medical training for the merit of permits. It has been far too lax for far too long, and people are dying because of it.

The rules at the school were very lax. Students called teachers by their first names, there was no dress code, and student got to pick their own classes.

What are synonyms and antonyms of lax (ˈlæk s)?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word lax. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you want to expand your vocabulary or if you want to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word lax is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  negligent
  •  baggy
  •  slothful
  •  laid-back
  •  lazy
  •  compliant
  •  limp
  •  forgetful
  •  permissive
  •  relaxed
  •  indifferent
  •  pliant
  •  forbearing
  •  indolent
  •  inattentive
  •  tractable
  •  lenient
  •  responsive
  •  susceptible
  •  easy-going
  •  indulgent
  •  flabby
  •  flexible
  •  easy
  •  delinquent
  •  laissez-faire
  •  amenable
  •  neglectful
  •  compromising
  •  tensile
  •  indefinite
  •  soft
  •  careless
  •  derelict
  •  tolerant
  •  yielding
  •  inexact
  •  remiss
  •  sagging
  •  drooping
  •  loose
  •  sloppy
  •  slipshod
  •  receptive
  •  slapdash
  •  slack
  •  easygoing
  •  dilatory
  •  weak
  •  flaccid

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word lax. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are words and phrases that have the opposite definition of another word or phrase and are useful to know if you want to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word lax is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  inflexible
  •  energetic
  •  severe
  •  strict
  •  attached
  •  restrictive
  •  scrupulous
  •  fussy
  •  taut
  •  chary
  •  wary
  •  activated
  •  meticulous
  •  gingerly
  •  exact
  •  indefatigable
  •  stern
  •  enthusiastic
  •  nice
  •  attentive
  •  fresh
  •  concerned
  •  businesslike
  •  hard
  •  hard-working
  •  queued
  •  diligent
  •  harsh
  •  tight
  •  efficient
  •  heedful
  •  tense
  •  conscientious
  •  cognizant
  •  prudent
  •  rigorous
  •  driven
  •  adamant
  •  business-minded
  •  assiduous
  •  active
  •  rigid
  •  alert
  •  fastidious
  •  busy
  •  careful
  •  caring
  •  bound
  •  very angry
  •  firm
  •  painstaking
  •  discerning

Overall, the word lax means loose, relaxed, or negligent. It can also refer to diarrheal bowels or bowel movements that behave in slipshod ways. It is also used in linguistics to refer to relaxed tongue muscles, little temporal duration, or little muscular effort that leads to the imprecise accuracy of articulation.


  1. Lax – definition of lax | The Free Dictionary 
  2. lax: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. lax | Origin and meaning of lax | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Lax synonyms – 1 407 Words and Phrases for Lax | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Lax antonyms – 649 Opposites of Lax | Power Thesaurus