Question 1 If someone's relations with any of their relatives (say father), are not good, what adjectives would be appropriate in the following cases:

  1. They don't fight or have frequent quarrels yet do not interact too much with each other(but not because they dislike each other)

  2. They have frequent fights, both of them dislike each other and so do not interact with each other.

  3. For some reasons they have a great enmity with each other?

Question 2 What do we say to mean that someone's relations with their relatives are getting bad or worsening? Can we simply say that their relations are worsening or are getting worse.

  • That reminds me of the generation Gap.
    – user66974
    Apr 22, 2014 at 6:31
  • 1
    A sentence that talks about "relations" with ones "relatives" is bound to be confusing, since "relations" can also be a synonym for "relatives". Apr 22, 2014 at 6:40

4 Answers 4

  • Strained

    William Beckett wrote a song about a strained relationship with her father.

  • Tepid

  • Lukewarm

  • Soured

  • strained was the first word that came to my mind.
    – Barmar
    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:47
  • @kris can we say unhealthy to mean it all
    – user72745
    Apr 22, 2014 at 15:15
  • @user72745 I don't think so. Unhealthy relationship can have connotations that are best avoided and it doesn't quite mean what we have in context either.
    – Kris
    Apr 23, 2014 at 8:33
  • @kris what kind of connotations please explain
    – user72745
    Apr 24, 2014 at 14:25
  • @user72745 Google it :) What else is Google for!
    – Kris
    Apr 25, 2014 at 9:23

Consider "tense" for the first question.

tense: marked or causing agitation or uncomfortable feelings.

A tense relationship existed between the two teachers.

For 1.2, I would say they have a stormy relationship.

For 1.3, "hateful relationship" is what comes to mind.

For question #2, I would say their relationship is deteriorating.

deteriorate: to make or become worse or inferior in character, quality, value, etc.

My parents have been married 25 years but their relationship has deteriorated since my brother and I left home.


here is my shot at it:


2.their relationship is BITTER


and for your last question, a relationship that gets worse, you can say that their relationship has reached a MORIBUND state (nearly dead or close to the end). you can also say that their relation is DILAPIDATED.

  • It would be better to use standard capitalization in your answers (i.e. at the beginning of sentences and bullet points).
    – JLG
    Apr 23, 2014 at 13:46
  • I'll keep that in mind
    – vickyace
    Apr 23, 2014 at 15:04

For the first case (near relations who don't interact much, but don't actively dislike each other) one might say the parties have grown apart or are distant (ie, “Emotionally unresponsive or unwilling to express genuine feelings”) or perhaps alienated.

Part of the description of the second case is self-contradictory; having frequent fights is not consistent with not interacting with each other. The word turbulent (“Violently disturbed or agitated; tempestuous, tumultuous”) sometimes is used of relationships marked by squabbling, bickering, fighting, disrespect, and dislike.

For the third case (near relations with enmity toward each other) the term estranged (“Having become a stranger, of one who formerly was close, as a relative, friend, lover, or spouse”) often is used. Wiktionary's usage note says:

[Estranged is a] relatively formal term ... the more colloquial alternative is “to not talk”, as in “I don’t talk to my mother”. A semi-formal alternative is not on speaking terms.

The definition and usage note for estranged suggest that the term would appropriately apply to the first case (where there is no dislike). But it is common for estranged to be used in cases where active dislike has grown up between parties, and many people may infer dislike when the word is used. So use of estranged in the first case may be marginal. Grown apart, on the other hand, does not imply dislike, and I think is unlikely to be misinterpreted.

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