1. To cause a lessening or alleviation of: relieved all his symptoms; relieved the tension.
2. To free from pain, anxiety, or distress.
3. To furnish assistance or aid to.
4. To rescue from siege.
5. To release (a person) from an obligation, restriction, or burden, as by law or legislation.
a. To free from a specified duty by providing or acting as a substitute.
b. Baseball To take over for (a relief pitcher).
7. To make less tedious, monotonous, or unpleasant: Only one small candle relieved the gloom.
8. To make prominent or effective by contrast; set off.
9. Informal To rob or deprive: Pickpockets relieved him of his money.
To urinate or defecate.
[Middle English releven, from Old French relever, from Latin relevre : re-, re- + levre, to raise; see legwh- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: relieve, allay, alleviate, assuage, lighten2, mitigate, palliate 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 taxpayers 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).
relieve /rliv/ v. [T] -lieved, -lieving, -lieves1 to lessen or take away s.t. unpleasant: Aspirin relieves my pains.2 to free from worry, take away concern: She was relieved when she learned that she doesnt have cancer.3 to take the place of s.o. who is working: The guards relieve each other every four hours.4to relieve oneself: to allow waste to leave the body, esp. urine, (syns.) to urinate, defecate: He went to the bathroom and relieved himself.
Thesaurus: relieve1 to ease, soothe, alleviate 2 to be comforted 3 to replace s.o., substitute for s.o.