alleviate

verb
al·​le·​vi·​ate | \ ə-ˈlē-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce alleviate (audio) \
alleviated; alleviating; alleviates

Definition of alleviate

transitive verb

: relieve, lessen: such as
a : to make (something, such as pain or suffering) more bearable a drug that alleviates the symptoms using relaxation techniques to alleviate stress To draw customers, [Richard G.] Rosenberg became certified in pedorthics—an area that involves the design, make and modification of shoes to alleviate foot ailments.— Dana Hedgpeth
b : to partially remove or correct (something undesirable) government programs to alleviate poverty Enticing retirees into the work force to alleviate the current labor shortage …— Cullen Murphy

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Other Words from alleviate

alleviation \ ə-​ˌlē-​vē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce alleviation (audio) \ noun
the alleviation of arthritic pain … the stability of the developed world is as dependent on alleviation of problems in the third world as on the ability to keep the nuclear arms race under control. — Carl Marcy
alleviator \ ə-​ˈlē-​vē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce alleviator (audio) \ noun, plural alleviators
… firefighters' camaraderie with the city and with each other is the biggest stress alleviator, [former Boston Fire Commissioner Paul] Christian said. — Justine Hoffher

Synonyms & Antonyms for alleviate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for alleviate

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

Where does the word alleviate come from?

Alleviate derives from the past participle of Late Latin alleviare ("to lighten or relieve"), which in turn was formed by combining the prefix ad- and the adjective "levis," a Latin word meaning "light" or "having little weight." ("Levis" comes from the same ancient word that gave rise to "light" in English.) We acquired "alleviate" in the 15th century, and for the first few centuries the word could mean either "to cause (something) to have less weight" or "to make (something) more tolerable." The literal "make lighter" sense is no longer used, however, so today we have only the "relieve" sense. Incidentally, not only is "alleviate" a synonym of "relieve," it's also a cousin; "relieve" comes from "levare" ("to raise"), which in turn comes from "levis."

Examples of alleviate in a Sentence

For decades, as you probably know, researchers have found that when you tell patients that you're giving them medicine, many report that their symptoms are alleviated, even if they're only taking sugar pills. — Daniel Zwerdling, Gourmet, August 2004 Granholm has spent the morning giving a major public address on state finance issues, courting local officials in meetings, and, in between, talking with me. We'd discussed the state of the Michigan economy and her ideas for developing a new high-tech corridor outside Detroit that focuses on homeland security innovation; we went over her ideas for alleviating overcrowding in the state's emergency rooms. — Jonathan Cohn, New Republic, 14 Oct. 2002 When applied in ointment form, capsaicin helps alleviate the discomfort of arthritis and psoriasis. Taken internally as a diluted tincture, it helps keep the blood flowing smoothly and strengthens the cardiovascular system. — Nina Simonds, Gourmet, September 2002 Ridley, a British journalist with a doctoral degree in zoology, does touch on the incredible potential of genetics for alleviating human misery.  … But much of his remarkable book is focused on a higher plane of pure intellectual discovery. — Lee M. Silver, New York Times Book Review, 27 Feb. 2000 Before discussing what must be done to alleviate the environmental and social crises afflicting the globe, Chief Oren Lyons … of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, wanted to drive to a gym in Syracuse, New York, and watch his son shadowbox. — Paul Schneider, Audubon, March/April 1994 finding ways to alleviate stress a car pool alleviates some of the stress of driving the kids to and from school every day
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Recent Examples on the Web Thunberg was previously nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, but lost to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won for efforts to achieve international peace, specifically in alleviating conflict with the bordering Eritrea. Asia Ewart, refinery29.com, "If She Wins, Greta Thunberg Would Only Be The 18th Woman Awarded The Nobel Peace Prize," 3 Feb. 2020 The Chicago location’s Vitaly Suite, however, was built for a more holistic wellness experience with specific amenities, such as pajamas made from particular textiles designed to moderate body temperature and alleviate restlessness. Chadner Navarro, Fortune, "High-Tech Fitness Offerings Are the Newest Luxury Hotel Must-Have," 13 Jan. 2020 One of the Democratic presidential primary’s biggest flash points came in June, when, during a debate, Sen. Kamala Harris seized on Mr. Biden’s history of opposition to federal busing efforts aimed at alleviating school segregation. New York Times, "Cheating Scandals, Charters and Falling Test Scores: 5 Takeaways From the Year in Education," 28 Dec. 2019 Trower said this construction is aimed at alleviating existing traffic flow at the Texas 288/ FM 518 intersection and in anticipation of additional drivers who will be using the toll system. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Toll lane completion among projects on tap in Brazoria County," 27 Dec. 2019 Part of the task of alleviating the needless suffering of animals is punishing cruelty. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Michael Vick deserves our forgiveness," 11 Dec. 2019 In August, Martirano presented his proposal with three goals in mind: alleviate capacity problems, balance student poverty levels among schools, and establish a road map for the 13th high school, in Jessup. Jess Nocera, baltimoresun.com, "Howard school system sets Dec. 13 deadline for redistricting exemptions to be filed," 5 Dec. 2019 The center focuses on research and training, promoting desalination as a solution that can help address scarcity and alleviate tensions. Ian James, azcentral, "In the Middle East, countries spend heavily to transform seawater into drinking water," 29 Nov. 2019 Despite these limitations, the present findings are intriguing and suggest a potential low-cost, low-risk way for alleviating an all-too-common problem among students. Cindi May, Scientific American, "Some Relief for Test Anxiety Is Found in an Unusual Treatment," 19 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alleviate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alleviate

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alleviate

Late Latin alleviatus, past participle of alleviare, from Latin ad- + levis light — more at light

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Time Traveler for alleviate

Time Traveler

The first known use of alleviate was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alleviate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alleviated. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for alleviate

alleviate

verb
How to pronounce alleviate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alleviate

: to reduce the pain or trouble of (something) : to make (something) less painful, difficult, or severe

alleviate

verb
al·​le·​vi·​ate | \ ə-ˈlē-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce alleviate (audio) \
alleviated; alleviating

Kids Definition of alleviate

: to make less painful, difficult, or severe A good long rest alleviated her headache.

alleviate

transitive verb
al·​le·​vi·​ate | \ ə-ˈlē-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce alleviate (audio) \
alleviated; alleviating

Medical Definition of alleviate

: to make (as symptoms) less severe or more bearable a lotion to alleviate itching

Other Words from alleviate

alleviation \ -​ˌlē-​vē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce alleviation (audio) \ noun

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Comments on alleviate

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