verb re·lieve \ri-ˈlēv\

: to reduce or remove (something, such as pain or an unpleasant feeling)

: to make (a problem) less serious

: to take the place of (someone who has been working, fighting, etc.)


Full Definition of RELIEVE

transitive verb
a :  to free from a burden :  give aid or help to
b :  to set free from an obligation, condition, or restriction
c :  to ease of a burden, wrong, or oppression by judicial or legislative interposition
a :  to bring about the removal or alleviation of :  mitigate <helps relieve stress>
b :  rob, deprive <relieved us of our belongings>
a :  to release from a post, station, or duty
b :  to take the place of <will relieve the starting pitcher>
:  to remove or lessen the monotony of <a park relieves the urban landscape>
a :  to set off by contrast
b :  to raise in relief
:  to discharge the bladder or bowels of (oneself)
intransitive verb
:  to bring or give relief
:  to stand out in relief
:  to serve as a relief pitcher
re·liev·able \-ˈlē-və-bəl\ adjective

Examples of RELIEVE

  1. I took a pill to relieve my headache.
  2. I wish I could relieve your suffering.
  3. What's the best way to relieve stress?
  4. She tried to relieve the tension by making a joke.
  5. an effort to relieve traffic congestion
  6. We need to find ways to relieve overcrowding in our schools.
  7. I've come to relieve the guard on duty.
  8. The soldiers were relieved by 30,000 fresh troops.

Origin of RELIEVE

Middle English releven, from Anglo-French relever to raise, relieve, from Latin relevare, from re- + levare to raise — more at lever
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of RELIEVE

relieve, alleviate, lighten, assuage, mitigate, allay mean to make something less grievous. relieve implies a lifting of enough of a burden to make it tolerable <took an aspirin to relieve the pain>. alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress <the lotion alleviated the itching>. lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight <good news would lighten our worries>. assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable <ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat>. mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful <the need to mitigate barbaric laws>. allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms <allayed their fears>.


transitive verb re·lieve \ri-ˈlēv\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of RELIEVE

:  to bring about the removal or alleviation of (pain or discomfort)
:  to discharge the bladder or bowels of (oneself)
re·liev·er noun


Next Word in the Dictionary: relievedPrevious Word in the Dictionary: relief wellAll Words Near: relieve
May 30, 2015
metadata Hear it
data about other data
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears