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?

Definitions of relieve
  1. verb
    free from a burden, evil, or distress
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    type of:
    disembarrass, free, rid
    relieve from
  2. verb
    provide relief for
    synonyms: remedy
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    type of:
    care for, treat
    provide treatment for
  3. verb
    provide physical relief, as from pain
    “This pill will relieve your headaches”
    synonyms: alleviate, assuage, palliate
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    cause to feel better
    comfort, ease
    lessen pain or discomfort; alleviate
    type of:
    ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
    to make better
  4. verb
    free someone temporarily from his or her obligations
    synonyms: take over
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    relieve (someone) from work by taking a turn
    type of:
    discharge, free
    free from obligations or duties
  5. verb
    save from ruin, destruction, or harm
    synonyms: salvage, salve, save
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    type of:
    deliver, rescue
    free from harm or evil
  6. verb
    relieve oneself of troubling information
    synonyms: unbosom
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    type of:
    reveal in private; tell confidentially
  7. verb
    grant exemption or release to
    synonyms: excuse, exempt, let off
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    exempt by means of an official pass or letter, as from customs or other checks
    type of:
    absolve, free, justify
    let off the hook
  8. verb
    grant relief or an exemption from a rule or requirement to
    synonyms: exempt, free
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    apply, enforce, implement
    ensure observance of laws and rules
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    make free from restrictions
    lift the regulations on
    grant a dispensation; grant an exemption
    absolve from payment
    save or relieve from an experience or action
  9. verb
    take by stealing
    “The thief relieved me of $100”
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    type of:
    take by force
  10. verb
    lessen the intensity of or calm
    synonyms: allay, ease, still
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    discharge bad feelings or tension through verbalization
    type of:
    comfort, console, solace, soothe
    give moral or emotional strength to
  11. verb
    alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive
    relieve the pressure and the stress”
    synonyms: lighten
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    type of:
    make less severe or harsh
Word Family

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