as·​suage | \ ə-ˈswāj How to pronounce assuage (audio) also -ˈswāzh or -ˈswäzh \
assuaged; assuaging

Definition of assuage

transitive verb

1 : to lessen the intensity of (something that pains or distresses) : ease unable to assuage their grief
2 : pacify, quiet … vainly strove … to assuage an implacable foe …— Edward Gibbon
3 : to put an end to by satisfying : appease, quench assuaging his thirst

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Other Words from assuage

assuagement \ ə-​ˈswāj-​mənt How to pronounce assuage (audio) also  -​ˈswāzh-​ or  -​ˈswäzh-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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 Stays Sweet Over Time

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 a temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress. Mitigate suggests moderating or countering the force or intensity of something painful.

Examples of assuage in a Sentence

Life contains sorrows that cannot be assuaged, and it is important to be honest in acknowledging this. — Jo McGowan, Commonweal, 5 May 2006 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 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 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 He couldn't assuage his guilt over the divorce. a mother cooing to her toddler and assuaging his fear of the dark
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Recent Examples on the Web In releasing this information, the CDC seeks to assuage the concerns of people with underlying medical conditions, including rare disorders and inflammatory diseases. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "What to know about the CDC’s new COVID vaccine guidance for people with health conditions," 27 Dec. 2020 Personally speaking, video games, with their synthetic rewards and twinkly distractions, didn’t quite manage to assuage my weariness with the world this year. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "The Best Video Games of 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 Louisville coaches anticipated a loss in experience with roster turnover after last season and attempted to assuage the dearth with grad transfers Minlend and Carlik Jones. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, "How healthy will Louisville basketball be for season opener?," 18 Nov. 2020 Bowers did, however, support an audit of the voting machines in Maricopa County to assuage concerns of tampering, but that call wasn't taken up by Republican county officials who run elections. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Legislature 'cannot and will not' overturn election, Republican House speaker says," 5 Dec. 2020 The council voted unanimously to ban noncompete clauses after the bill’s author Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) agreed to exempt doctors making more than $250,000 — an attempt to assuage concerns raised by hospitals and the mayor. Washington Post, "D.C. Council votes to outlaw cashless stores, allow some prisoners to seek early release," 1 Dec. 2020 Foster and his collaborators hope this will assuage people’s fears about losing proprietary data to competitors while still allowing the creation of the massive data sets. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "AI Is Throwing Battery Development Into Overdrive," 12 Oct. 2020 At the ribbon-cutting for the Jackson surveillance center, Lumumba tried to assuage fears about how the technology would be deployed. NBC News, "Police in Jackson, Mississippi, want access to live home security video, alarming privacy advocates," 2 Dec. 2020 Aside from trying to assuage Mr. Trump, Republicans in Georgia also appear to be laying the groundwork for new limits on voting, and particularly on absentee voting. New York Times, "Georgia Republicans Contort Themselves to Avoid Trump’s Fury," 2 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assuage.' 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 assuage

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assuage

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

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Time Traveler for assuage

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The first known use of assuage was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assuage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for assuage


How to pronounce assuage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of assuage

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


as·​suage | \ ə-ˈswāj How to pronounce assuage (audio) \
assuaged; assuaging

Kids Definition of assuage

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

More from Merriam-Webster on assuage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for assuage

Nglish: Translation of assuage for Spanish Speakers

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