relieve

play
verb re·lieve \ ri-ˈlēv \

Definition of relieve

relieved; relieving
transitive verb
1 a :to free from a burden :give aid or help to
b :to set free from an obligation, condition, or restriction
c :to ease of a burden, wrong, or oppression by judicial or legislative interposition
2 a :to bring about the removal or alleviation of :mitigate
  • helps relieve stress
b :rob, deprive
  • relieved us of our belongings
3 a :to release from a post, station, or duty
b :to take the place of
  • will relieve the starting pitcher
4 :to remove or lessen the monotony of
  • a park relieves the urban landscape
5 a :to set off by contrast
b :to raise in relief
6 :to discharge the bladder or bowels of (oneself)
intransitive verb
1 :to bring or give relief
2 :to stand out in relief
3 :to serve as a relief pitcher

relievable

play \-ˈlē-və-bəl\ adjective

Examples of relieve in a Sentence

  1. I took a pill to relieve my headache.

  2. I wish I could relieve your suffering.

  3. What's the best way to relieve stress?

  4. She tried to relieve the tension by making a joke.

  5. an effort to relieve traffic congestion

  6. We need to find ways to relieve overcrowding in our schools.

  7. I've come to relieve the guard on duty.

  8. The soldiers were relieved by 30,000 fresh troops.

Recent Examples of relieve from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of relieve

Middle English releven, from Anglo-French relever to raise, relieve, from Latin relevare, from re- + levare to raise — more at lever

Synonym Discussion of relieve

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


RELIEVE Defined for English Language Learners

relieve

play
verb

Definition of relieve for English Language Learners

  • : to reduce or remove (something, such as pain or an unpleasant feeling)

  • : to make (a problem) less serious

  • : to take the place of (someone who has been working, fighting, etc.)


RELIEVE Defined for Kids

relieve

play
verb re·lieve \ ri-ˈlēv \

Definition of relieve for Students

relieved; relieving
1 :to free partly or wholly from a burden, pain, or distress
  • The phone call relieved the worried parents.
2 :to bring about the removal or lessening of
  • No words could relieve her sorrow.
3 :to release from a post or duty
  • relieve a sentry
4 :to break the sameness of
  • The dark red house was relieved by white trim.

reliever

noun

Medical Dictionary

relieve

play
transitive verb re·lieve \ ri-ˈlēv \

medical Definition of relieve

relieved; relieving
1 :to bring about the removal or alleviation of (pain or discomfort)
2 :to discharge the bladder or bowels of (oneself)

reliever

noun

Law Dictionary

relieve

transitive verb re·lieve

legal Definition of relieve

relieved; relieving
:to set free from a duty, burden, or liability
  • cannot be relieved of his negligence
  • the trust cannot relieve the trustees of those very basic duties that the law imposes
  • Hosey v. Burgess, 890 S.W.2d 262 (1995)


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