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

transitive verb

: to lessen the intensity of (something that pains or distresses) : ease
unable to assuage their grief
: pacify, quiet
… vainly strove … to assuage an implacable foe … Edward Gibbon
: to put an end to by satisfying : appease, quench
assuaging his thirst
ə-ˈswāj-mənt How to pronounce assuage (audio)
 also  -ˈswāzh-
 or  -ˈswäzh-

Did you know?

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

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

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Sammy's father, computer engineer Burt (Paul Dano), attempts to assuage the boy's fears by explaining the scientific process behind moving pictures. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 23 Nov. 2022 To assuage these fears, Airbnb this week is launching Airbnb Setup and upgrading its Aircover with several new features, which Chesky is hoping will make hosting an apartment on his platform easier and safer. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2022 This does little to assuage my fears over Rick and Michonne’s glaring lack of chemistry or any real romance to speak of. Erik Kain, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 The government has tried to assuage protesters' anger by signaling willingness to compromise on the constitution and find a solution to the crisis, putting the parliament under pressure to back the amendments. Helen Regan And Kocha Olarn, CNN, 18 Nov. 2020 But the founders made sure to address how the company would handle severance, health care coverage, and immigration support for former employees and assuage concerns from remaining staffers. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 9 Nov. 2022 In many cases, bringing a buddy can help assuage those worries, so consider enlisting a friend for this workout. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 20 Aug. 2022 If the conversation doesn’t assuage any worries, the patron is invited to fill out a reconsideration form online, which then goes to a committee of librarians from the county, who talk about the book and determine how to move forward. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Feb. 2022 The Rams didn’t take too long to assuage those worries. Lynn Ramsey,, 24 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near assuage

Cite this Entry

“Assuage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



as·​suage ə-ˈswāj How to pronounce assuage (audio)
assuaged; assuaging
: to lessen or make easier to bear : soothe, ease
assuagement noun

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