relieve

To relieve is to ease a burden or take over for someone. An aspirin can relieve a headache, and a substitute can relieve the teacher who fell asleep on her desk after lunch.

Relieve comes from the Latin word relevare meaning "to help" or "make light again." An ice pack might relieve a pain in your elbow, but you can also be relieved of your duties if you get fired (or taken out to lunch). A thief might even relieve you of your wallet. Like thief, relieve is the rare word that actually follows the "i" before "e" rule ("i" before "e" except after "c" or when sounded as "a" as in "neighbor" and "weigh"). Aren't you relieved?

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: relieve

1
v
free from a burden, evil, or distress
2
v
grant exemption or release to
3
v
take by stealing
4
v
lessen the intensity of or calm
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: relieve
1

v free from a burden, evil, or distress

Type of:
disembarrass, free, rid
relieve from

v provide relief for

Synonyms:
remedy
Type of:
care for, treat
provide treatment for

v provide physical relief, as from pain

“This pill will relieve your headaches”
Synonyms:
alleviate, assuage, palliate
Types:
soothe
cause to feel better
comfort, ease
lessen pain or discomfort; alleviate
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

v free someone temporarily from his or her obligations

Synonyms:
take over
Types:
spell
relieve (someone) from work by taking a turn
Type of:
discharge, free
free from obligations or duties

v save from ruin, destruction, or harm

Synonyms:
salvage, salve, save
Type of:
deliver, rescue
free from harm or evil

v relieve oneself of troubling information

Synonyms:
unbosom
Type of:
confide
reveal in private; tell confidentially
2

v grant exemption or release to

Synonyms:
excuse, exempt, let off
Types:
frank
exempt by means of an official pass or letter, as from customs or other checks
Type of:
absolve, free, justify
let off the hook

v grant relief or an exemption from a rule or requirement to

Synonyms:
exempt, free
Antonyms:
apply, enforce, implement
ensure observance of laws and rules
Types:
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derestrict
make free from restrictions
deregulate
lift the regulations on
dispense
grant a dispensation; grant an exemption
forgive
absolve from payment
spare
save or relieve from an experience or action
3

v take by stealing

“The thief relieved me of $100”
Type of:
take
take by force
4

v lessen the intensity of or calm

Synonyms:
allay, ease, still
Types:
abreact
discharge bad feelings or tension through verbalization
Type of:
comfort, console, solace, soothe
give moral or emotional strength to

v alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive

relieve the pressure and the stress”
Synonyms:
lighten
Type of:
mitigate
make less severe or harsh
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