Word of the Day

mitigate \MIT-ih-gayt\
verb1 : to cause to become less harsh or hostile 2 : to make less severe or painful
Both engineers and government officials hoped that improvements to the public transportation system would help mitigate traffic congestion in the city.

“Each house has a $39,000 geothermal system and $29,000 solar system. The upfront costs are mitigated in New York by federal and state tax credits and rebates that bring combined costs down to $32,600.” — From an article by Michael Hill in the Albuquerque Journal, October 6, 2013
Did you know?
Would it be correct to say, “His boyish appearance mitigated against his getting an early promotion”? Most usage commentators would say “no.” They feel such examples demonstrate a long-standing confusion between “mitigate” and the look-alike “militate.” Those two words are not closely related etymologically (“mitigate” descends from the Latin verb “mitigare, ” meaning “to soften,” whereas “militate” traces to “militare,” another Latin verb that means “to engage in warfare”), nor are they particularly close in meaning (“militate” means “to have weight or effect”). The confusion between the two has existed for long enough that one commentator thinks “mitigate against” should be accepted as an idiomatic alternative to “militate,” but if you want to avoid criticism, you should keep “mitigate” and “militate” distinct.


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