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[mit-i-geyt] /ˈmɪt ɪˌgeɪt/
verb (used with object), mitigated, mitigating.
to lessen in force or intensity, as wrath, grief, harshness, or pain; moderate.
to make less severe:
to mitigate a punishment.
to make (a person, one's state of mind, disposition, etc.) milder or more gentle; mollify; appease.
verb (used without object), mitigated, mitigating.
to become milder; lessen in severity.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English mitigaten < Latin mītigātus (past participle of mītigāre to calm, soften, soothe), equivalent to mīt(is) mild, soft, gentle + -ig- (combining form of agere to do, cause to do, make) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
[mit-i-guh-buh l] /ˈmɪt ɪ gə bəl/ (Show IPA),
mitigatedly, adverb
mitigation, noun
mitigative, mitigatory
[mit-i-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈmɪt ɪ gəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
mitigator, noun
nonmitigative, adjective
nonmitigatory, adjective
overmitigate, verb, overmitigated, overmitigating.
unmitigable, adjective
unmitigative, adjective
Can be confused
militate, mitigate (see usage note at the current entry)
Usage note
Mitigate, whose central meaning is “to lessen” or “to make less severe,” is sometimes confused with militate, which means “to have effect or influence; weigh on.” This mix-up often occurs in the use of the phrase mitigate against, as follows: This criticism in no way mitigates (read militates) against your going ahead with your research. Although this use of mitigate occasionally occurs in edited writing, it is rare and is widely regarded as an error. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mitigating
  • That's not a mitigating factor to be explained away — it's an opportunity to help students, a problem to be solved.
  • The trouble with mitigating climate change is that the benefits are uncertain and distant.
  • Of course, there may have been mitigating circumstances.
  • Apologies are a means of mitigating resposibility.
  • There are ways of mitigating such effects.
  • They searched for every scrap of mitigating evidence they could find.
  • There are always variables and mitigating circumstances.
  • But there are plenty of ways of mitigating the cost.
  • Attics are vented to allow this heat to escape as well as mitigating condensation effect from the temperature differential.
  • Insurance companies not doing a good job of mitigating risk.
British Dictionary definitions for mitigating


to make or become less severe or harsh; moderate
Derived Forms
mitigable (ˈmɪtɪɡəbəl) adjective
mitigation, noun
mitigative, mitigatory, adjective
mitigator, noun
Usage note
Mitigate is sometimes wrongly used where militate is meant: his behaviour militates (not mitigates) against his chances of promotion
Word Origin
C15: from Latin mītigāre, from mītis mild + agere to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mitigating

"extenuating," 1610s, present participle adjective from mitigate.



early 15c., "relieve (pain)," from Latin mitigatus, past participle of mitigare "soften, make tender, ripen, mellow, tame," figuratively, "make mild or gentle, pacify, soothe," ultimately from mitis "gentle, soft" (from PIE *mei- "mild") + root of agere "do, make, act" (see act). First element is from PIE root *mei- "soft, mild." Related: Mitigated; mitigating; mitigates.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mitigating in Medicine

mitigate mit·i·gate (mĭt'ĭ-gāt')
v. mit·i·gat·ed, mit·i·gat·ing, mit·i·gates
To moderate in force or intensity.

mit'i·ga'tion n.
mit'i·ga'tive or mit'i·ga·to'ry (-gə-tôr'ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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