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Borrowed from Latin mītigātus, from mītigō, from mītis (gentle, mild, ripe) + agō (do, make), from Proto-Indo-European *meh₁i- (mild, soft).[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɪt.ɪ.ɡeɪt/
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mitigate (third-person singular simple present mitigates, present participle mitigating, simple past and past participle mitigated)

  1. (transitive) To reduce, lessen, or decrease; to make less severe or easier to bear.
    • 1795George Washington, Seventh State of the Union Address
      Measures are pursuing to prevent or mitigate the usual consequences of such outrages, and with the hope of their succeeding at least to avert general hostility.
    • 1813James Madison, Fifth State of the Union Address
      But in yielding to it the retaliation has been mitigated as much as possible, both in its extent and in its character...
    • 1896Walter Hadwen, The Case Against Vaccination
      Then they tell us that vaccination will mitigate the disease that it will make it milder.
    • 1900 December – 1901 August, H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, chapter 7, in The First Men in the Moon, London: George Newnes, [], published 1901, OCLC 843386372:
      Then I discovered the brilliance of the landscape around was mitigated by blue spectacles.
    • 1920H. P. Lovecraft, The Cats of Ulthar
      The plague had not been kind to him, yet had left him this small furry thing to mitigate his sorrow; and when one is very young, one can find great relief in the lively antics of a black kitten.
    • 2021 October 6, Greg Morse, “A need for speed and the drive for 125”, in RAIL, number 941, page 53:
      But then crashworthiness is not about preventing accidents, but about mitigating their consequences.
  2. (transitive) To downplay.

Usage notes[edit]

Particularly used as mitigate a problem or flaw. Contrast with ameliorate (make better).

This word is often misused to mean “operate” or “influence”. For this meaning, the correct word is militate, followed by “against” or “in favour of”. Mitigate is never followed by these expressions.



Coordinate terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “mitigate”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.


Etymology 1[edit]



  1. inflection of mitigare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2[edit]


mitigate f pl

  1. feminine plural of mitigato




  1. vocative masculine singular of mītigātus