verb as·suage \ə-ˈswāj also -ˈswāzh or -ˈswäzh\

Definition of assuage




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to lessen the intensity of (something that pains or distresses) :  ease unable to assuage their grief

  3. 2 :  pacify, quiet … vainly strove … to assuage an implacable foe … — Edward Gibbon

  4. 3 :  to put an end to by satisfying :  appease, quench assuaging his thirst


play \-mənt\ noun

assuage was our Word of the Day on 02/01/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of assuage in a sentence

  1. Life contains sorrows that cannot be assuaged, and it is important to be honest in acknowledging this. —Jo McGowan, Commonweal, 5 May 2006

  2. But for the second exam, my pretest diet included yogurt and ice cream (without pieces), which assuaged my hunger, and the cleansing was stimulated by a glass of salty liquid midafternoon. —Jane E. Brody, New York Times, 12 July 2005

  3. Whatever arrangements such mothers willingly make for their children, whatever strategies they employ to relieve their guilt, whatever books they read to assuage their anxiety—all of that is their business, not mine. —Caitlin Flanagan, Atlantic, March 2004

  4. As I've told Jody on numerous occasions, the best way for her to assuage my guilt is to hit it big in the Internet gold rush and then retire … —Matthew Miller, New Republic, 17 Jan. 2000

  5. He couldn't assuage his guilt over the divorce.

  6. a mother cooing to her toddler and assuaging his fear of the dark

Did You Know?

Scholars assume that the word assuage derives from assuaviare, a Vulgar Latin term that combines the prefix ad- (to or toward) and the Latin suavis, meaning "sweet," pleasant, or agreeable.(Suavis is also the source of the adjective suave.) To assuage is to sweeten or make agreeable or tolerable, and it is far from the only English word for relieving or softening something difficult. Others include allay, alleviate, and mitigate. Allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms, while alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress. Mitigate suggests moderating or countering the force or intensity of something painful.

Origin and Etymology of assuage

Middle English aswagen, from Anglo-French asuager, from Vulgar Latin *assuaviare, from Latin ad- + suavis sweet — more at sweet

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of assuage

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

ASSUAGE Defined for English Language Learners


verb as·suage \ə-ˈswāj also -ˈswāzh or -ˈswäzh\

Definition of assuage for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something, such as an unpleasant feeling) less painful, severe, etc.

ASSUAGE Defined for Kids


verb as·suage \ə-ˈswāj\

Definition of assuage for Students




  1. :  to make less severe or intense assuage pain assuaged her grief

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