What Does Mitigate Mean?

Written by ramona french
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"Mitigate" is a verb and it means to to alleviate, lessen, soothe, soften or appease. It is often used in a legal sense, as in "mitigating circumstances."

Legal Use

A form of the word mitigate is used in the phrase "mitigating circumstances," which refers to conditions a court may take into account that would reduce blame and lessen the severity of the punishment for a crime or other action.

Other Uses

An article on the OS News website refers to mitigating security vulnerabilities in an operating system, meaning to lessen the risk by taking a specific action. Mitigating grief means lessening the pain of grief and mitigating a loss means reducing the severity of the loss, for instance by replacing what was lost.


Sometimes the word mitigate is used incorrectly to mean working or operating against, a confusion with the word militate which means to make war against or work against.

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