Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 19, 2017 is:

alleviate • \uh-LEE-vee-ayt\  • verb

: relieve, lessen such as a : to make (something, such as suffering) more bearable  b : to partially remove or correct (something undesirable)


Mom suggested that ibuprofen and tea would perhaps alleviate some of the misery of my cold.

“National Park Service rangers struggle to cope with overcrowded tour buses and alleviate damage to Zion’s natural wonders, including soil erosion and human waste near trails.” — Lindsay Whitehurst, The San Diego Union Tribune, 23 July 2017

Did you know?

Alleviate derives from the past participle of Late Latin alleviare (“to lighten or relieve”), which in turn was formed by combining the prefix ad- and the adjective levis, a Latin word meaning “having little weight,” which also gave rise to the adjective light (as in “not heavy”) in English. We acquired alleviate in the 15th century, and for the first few centuries the word could mean either “to cause (something) to have less weight” or “to make (something) more tolerable.” The literal “make lighter” sense is no longer used, however, and today we have only the “relieve” sense. Incidentally, not only is alleviate a synonym of relieve, it’s also a cousin; relieve comes from levare (“to raise”), which in turn comes from levis.

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