Can the word 'sagged' be used to describe how a person's body relaxes when he realises he isn't late? For example:

When Kenneth woke up from his sleep, he thought he was late. When he checked the time, his body visibly sagged and he went back to sleep. He had plenty of time to get ready for the meeting.


  • 2
    Just use "relaxed". Or "de-stressed" but I think that is not so commonly used. – user3169 Feb 5 '15 at 3:55
  • 2
    Agree with "relaxed" I'd suggest not going with "de-stressed" – Jim Feb 5 '15 at 3:59

On a quick glimpse, "sagged" and "relaxed" seem similar, but there is a subtle difference in meaning:

"To sag" means to lose the neccesary (internal) support and therefore to succumb to gravity. It's what happens before collapsing. It often has some negative connotation, succesting weakness, age or decay: a sagging plant or a sagging roof. When a person "sags" it's often due to sadness (e.g. having recieved bad news), other examples are bad posture (like sagging shoulders) and fainting.

"To relax" means to loosen excess tension or over-alertness. It has a positive connotation.

For your example "relax" would be the better choice.

  • I would suggest "he slumped back into bed". One can "slump" on purpose; sagging is typically involuntary. – Brian Hitchcock Feb 5 '15 at 10:10

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