From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. To lighten or lessen the force or weight of. Should no others join capable to alleviate the expense. (Evelyn) Those large bladders . . . Conduce much to the alleviating of the body [of flying birds] (Ray)

2. To lighten or lessen (physical or mental troubles); to mitigate, or make easier to be endured; as, to alleviate sorrow, pain, care, etc.; opposed to aggravate. The calamity of the want of the sense of hearing is much alleviated by giving the use of letters. (bp. Horsley)

3. To extenuate; to palliate. He alleviates his fault by an excuse. (Johnson)

Synonym: to lessen, diminish, soften, mitigate, assuage, abate, relieve, nullify, allay.

to alleviate, mitigate, Assuage, Allay. These words have in common the idea of relief from some painful state; and being all figurative, they differ in their application, according to the image under which this idea is presented. Alleviate supposes a load which is lightened or taken off; as, to alleviate one's cares. Mitigate supposes something fierce which is made mild; as, to mitigate one's anguish. Assuage supposes something violent which is quieted; as, to assuage one's sorrow. Allay supposes something previously excited, but now brought down; as, to allay one's suffering or one's thirst. To alleviate the distresses of life; to mitigate the fierceness of passion or the violence of grief; to assuage angry feeling; to allay wounded sensibility.

Origin: LL. Alleviare, fr. L. Ad _ levis light. See Alegge, Levity.