Etymology: Middle English releven, from Anglo-French relever to raise, relieve, from Latin relevare, from re- + levare to raise — more at lever
Date: 14th century
a. to free from a burden ; give aid or help to
b. to set free from an obligation, condition, or restriction
c. to ease of a burden, wrong, or oppression by judicial or legislative interposition
a. to bring about the removal or alleviation of ; mitigate <helps relieve stress> b. rob, deprive <relieved us of our belongings> 3. a. to release from a post, station, or duty b. to take the place of <will relieve the starting pitcher> 4. to remove or lessen the monotony of <a park relieves the urban landscape> 5. a. to set off by contrast b. to raise in relief 6. to discharge the bladder or bowels of (oneself) intransitive verb 1. to bring or give relief 2. to stand out in relief 3. to serve as a relief pitcher • relievable adjective Synonyms: relieve, alleviate, lighten, assuage, mitigate, allay 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>. alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress <the lotion alleviated the itching>. lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight <good news would lighten our worries>. assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable <ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat>. mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful <the need to mitigate barbaric laws>. allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms <allayed their fears>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.