Choose the verb mitigate when something lessens the unpleasantness of a situation. You can mitigate your parents' anger by telling them you were late to dinner because you were helping your elderly neighbor.

The somewhat formal verb mitigate comes from the Latin roots mītis "soft" and agere "to do/act," which add up to "to soften." It is often used with words that indicate an outcome or something harmful. When you buy car insurance, you are trying to mitigate the risks involved with driving. Sunscreen is used to mitigate the effects of the sun on your skin.

Definitions of mitigate

v lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of

extenuate, palliate
Type of:
apologise, apologize, excuse, justify, rationalise, rationalize
defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning

v make less severe or harsh

mitigating circumstances”
lighten, relieve
alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive
Type of:
decrease, lessen, minify
make smaller

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