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  1. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #1

    Smile alleviate vs. mitigate

    Hello! Could anyone tell me what the difference between "alleviate" and "mitigate" is ? I have looked them up by Cambridge Dictionaries Online and fail to distinguish them clearly.



    alleviate
    verb [T] FORMAL
    to make something bad such as pain or problems less severe:
    The drugs did nothing to alleviate her pain/suffering.
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press

    mitigate
    verb [T] FORMAL
    to make something less harmful, unpleasant or bad:

    It is unclear how to mitigate the effects of tourism on the island.
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press


    I look forward to your help. Thanks in advance!


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    #2

    Re: alleviate vs. mitigate

    They are very nearly synonymous, though alleviate is more generally used in relation to physical pain, and implies that the pain is made more bearable, is lessened. Mitigate is more nearly to soften the effect of something, or to make it less harsh.

  2. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #3

    Smile Re: alleviate vs. mitigate

    Good evening, Anglika. Thank you for your help! I see now.


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    #4

    Re: alleviate vs. mitigate

    'to alleviate' is to make something easier to endure (e.g. alleviate the pain following surgery)


    'to mitigate' ( Latin ='soften' ) means to lessen in force or intensity
    When someone is found guilty of a crime, there may be 'mitigating circumstances'. This means that there were circumstances surrounding the actual committing of the crime which are taken into account and so 'soften' the harshness of the penalty, reduce the sentence e.g. I kill a man. But the court is told he had just killed my chld. As far as the law is concerned, I had no right to take the law into my own hands and retaliate. I am guilty of homicide. But as opposed to being a cold-blooded murderer, the intensity of anger towards the man for what he had done is a mitigating factor when deciding the punishment to be handed out by the court.

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    #5

    Re: alleviate vs. mitigate

    Both words mean 'to make something less severe'.
    The words can be used interchangeably with certain words but strangely, not with others. Example:

    alleviate pain, mitigate pain
    alleviate suffering, mitigate suffering
    alleviate anger/anxiety, mitigate anger/anxiety


    mitigate business losses, mitigate flood, mitigate the effects of global warming
    mitigating factors, mitigating circumstances

    not a teacher

  3. thedaffodils's Avatar
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    #6

    Smile Re: alleviate vs. mitigate

    Hi David L. & Tedtmc,

    Your answers are helpful. Thank you.

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