Synonyms & Antonyms of relieve

1 to make more bearable or less severe
  • an ice pack will relieve the swelling

Synonyms for relieve

Words Related to relieve

Near Antonyms for relieve

Antonyms for relieve

2 to set (a person or thing) free of something that encumbers
  • the bellhop relieved him of his luggage and led him to the elevator

Synonyms for relieve

Words Related to relieve

Near Antonyms for relieve

Antonyms for relieve

3 to take the place of
  • at daybreak a soldier arrived to relieve the one who had spent the night on guard duty

Synonyms for relieve

Words Related to relieve

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Frequently Asked Questions About relieve

How is the word relieve different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of relieve are allay, alleviate, assuage, lighten, and mitigate. While all these words 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

When is it sensible to use allay instead of relieve?

The words allay and relieve can be used in similar contexts, but allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms.

allayed their fears

When would alleviate be a good substitute for relieve?

Although the words alleviate and relieve have much in common, alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress.

the lotion alleviated the itching

When could assuage be used to replace relieve?

The synonyms assuage and relieve are sometimes interchangeable, but assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable.

ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat

When might lighten be a better fit than relieve?

The words lighten and relieve are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight.

good news would lighten our worries

When is mitigate a more appropriate choice than relieve?

While in some cases nearly identical to relieve, mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful.

the need to mitigate barbaric laws

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Learn More About relieve

Time Traveler for relieve

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near relieve

relies (on or upon)



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Cite this Entry

“Relieve.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on relieve

Nglish: Translation of relieve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relieve for Arabic Speakers


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