mitigate

verb
mit·​i·​gate | \ ˈmi-tə-ˌgāt How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \
mitigated; mitigating

Definition of mitigate

transitive verb

1 : to cause to become less harsh or hostile : mollify aggressiveness may be mitigated or … channeled— Ashley Montagu
2a : to make less severe or painful : alleviate mitigate a patient's suffering
b : extenuate attempted to mitigate the offense

Other Words from mitigate

mitigative \ ˈmi-​tə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \ adjective
mitigator \ ˈmi-​tə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \ noun
mitigatory \ ˈmi-​ti-​gə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for mitigate

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for mitigate

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

Mitigate vs. Militate: Usage Guide

Mitigate is sometimes used as an intransitive (followed by against) where militate might be expected. Even though Faulkner used it some intangible and invisible social force that mitigates against him — William Faulkner and one critic thinks it should be called an American idiom, it is usually considered a mistake.

Did you know?

The meaning of mitigate is straightforward enough: it is most often used to talk about making something, such as a problem, symptom, or punishment, less harsh or severe. Sometimes, however, it appears where the similar-looking militate is expected. That word, which is often followed by against, means "to have weight or effect," as in "your unexcused absences might militate against your getting a promotion." The two words are not closely related etymologically (mitigate descends from the Latin verb mitigare, meaning "to soften," whereas militate traces to militare, another Latin verb that means "to engage in warfare"), but the confusion between the two has existed for long enough that some usage commentators have accepted "mitigate against" as an idiomatic alternative to militate. If you want to avoid criticism, you should keep mitigate and militate distinct.

mitigate or militate?

Would it be correct to say, "His boyish appearance mitigated against his getting an early promotion"? Most usage commentators would say "no." They feel such examples demonstrate a long-standing confusion between mitigate and the look-alike militate. Those two words are not closely related etymologically (mitigate descends from the Latin verb mitigare, meaning "to soften," whereas militate traces to militare, another Latin verb that means "to engage in warfare"), nor are they particularly close in meaning (militate means "to have weight or effect"). The confusion between the two has existed for long enough that one commentator thinks "mitigate against" should be accepted as an idiomatic alternative to militate, but if you want to avoid criticism, you should keep mitigate and militate distinct.

Examples of mitigate in a Sentence

At the far end of the room is a sliding glass door, taped with an X to mitigate shattering. The framing is flimsy, and rattles from mortar rounds even a half mile away. — William Langewiesche, Atlantic, May 2005 … a genre novel whose inevitable cinematic ending doesn't mitigate the visceral and emotional power of what has come before. It lingers in the memory like a very bad dream. — Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books, 14 Aug. 2003 For 65 holes Norman dominated the classic rolling fairways and small, subtle greens of Olympic … with driving and iron play so solid that it mitigated mediocre putting. — Jaime Diaz, Sports Illustrated, 8 Nov. 1993 Emergency funds are being provided to help mitigate the effects of the disaster. medicines used to mitigate a patient's suffering
Recent Examples on the Web By striking command and control centers, Ukraine is taking out the officers and commanders who would issue the orders to mitigate the impact of the HIMARS. Liz Sly, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Ironically, one of the reasons why fishing catches have decreased is climate change, and fishermen like Murillo must use more fuel to mitigate its impact. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, 22 July 2022 Among other things, Parson's order will activate the state's drought assessment team and allows state agencies to temporarily suspend some administrative rules and find appropriations to mitigate the drought's impact. CBS News, 22 July 2022 ClimateAi is a climate resilience platform for the world and a pioneer in applying artificial intelligence to mitigate the impact of climate change on lives, livelihoods and nature. Afdhel Aziz, Forbes, 19 July 2022 If regulatory roadblocks had been softened in a timely manner, for example, the U.S. could have imported enough infant formula to mitigate the impact of the plant closing. William A. Galston, WSJ, 24 May 2022 The British government is seeking not to remove the internal border, only to mitigate its impact. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 18 May 2022 The city of Boston has tried to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on local businesses. Alexander Thompson, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 May 2022 Opponents trying to derail a $5 billion, 7,500-job electric truck plant in Georgia dominated a state meeting this week that was meant to gather suggestions on how to design the plant to mitigate any impact on the environment. chicagotribune.com, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of mitigate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mitigate

Middle English, from Latin mitigatus, past participle of mitigare to soften, from mitis soft + -igare (akin to Latin agere to drive); akin to Old Irish moíth soft — more at agent

Learn More About mitigate

Time Traveler for mitigate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About mitigate

Dictionary Entries Near mitigate

mitigant

mitigate

mitigatedly

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mitigate

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mitigate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mitigate. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for mitigate

mitigate

transitive verb
mit·​i·​gate | \ ˈmit-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \
mitigated; mitigating

Medical Definition of mitigate

: to make less severe or painful

mitigate

verb
mit·​i·​gate | \ ˈmi-tə-ˌgāt How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \
mitigated; mitigating

Legal Definition of mitigate

transitive verb

: to lessen or minimize the severity of what actions the State took to mitigate the hazardous conditionsEstate of Arrowwood v. State, 894 P.2d 642 (1995) factors that mitigate the crime — see also mitigation of damages sense 1 — compare aggravate

intransitive verb

: to lessen or minimize the severity of one's losses or damage a failure to mitigate

Other Words from mitigate

mitigation \ ˌmi-​tə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \ noun
mitigative \ ˈmi-​tə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce mitigate (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on mitigate

Nglish: Translation of mitigate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mitigate for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!