These verbs mean to make something less severe or more bearable. To relieve is to make more endurable something causing discomfort or distress: “that misery which he strives in vain to relieve” (Henry David Thoreau). Allay suggests at least temporary relief from what is burdensome or painful: “This music crept by me upon the waters,/Allaying both their fury and my passion/With its sweet air” (Shakespeare). Alleviate connotes temporary lessening of distress without removal of its cause: “No arguments shall be wanting on my part that can alleviate so severe a misfortune” (Jane Austen). To assuage is to soothe or make milder: assuaged his guilt by confessing to the crime.Lighten signifies to make less heavy or oppressive: legislation that would lighten the taxpayer's burden.Mitigate and palliate connote moderating the force or intensity of something that causes suffering: “I … prayed to the Lord to mitigate a calamity” (John Galt). “Men turn to him in the hour of distress, as of all statesmen the most fitted to palliate it” (William E.H. Lecky).