from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make less severe or intense; moderate or alleviate. synonym: relieve.
  • transitive verb To make alterations to (land) to make it less polluted or more hospitable to wildlife.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make milder or more tolerable; reduce in amount or degree, as something objectionable, reprehensible, distressing, harmful, etc.; moderate; alleviate; assuage.
  • To soften; mollify; make mild and accessible.
  • Synonyms Alleviate, Relieve, etc. See alleviate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To make less severe, intense, harsh, rigorous, painful, etc.; to soften; to meliorate; to alleviate; to diminish; to lessen
  • transitive verb obsolete To make mild and accessible; to mollify; -- applied to persons.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To reduce, lessen, or decrease.
  • verb transitive To downplay.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb make less severe or harsh
  • verb lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English mitigaten, from Latin mītigāre, mītigāt- : mītis, soft + agere, to drive, do; see act.]


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  • Also see: ameliorate.

    November 18, 2007

  • verb: make less severe or harsh

    I can only spend so much time mitigating your disagreements with your wife, and at certain point, you need to do it on your own.

    verb: lessen the severity of an offense

    If it weren't for the mitigating circumstances, he would have certainly lost his job.

    October 12, 2016