Word of the Day


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Origin of the word

The Latin verb ‘mitigare’ was likely formed from a combination of ‘mitis’ meaning ‘soft or gentle’ and the root of ‘agere’ meaning ‘to perform, to do.’ Thus, the dominant meaning is ‘to mellow, make tender, tame, soften’ (1). There is also the figurative use, whereby the connotation extends to mean ‘to pacify, soothe, make mild or gentle’ (2).

Dating from the middle of the 14th century, mitigation is derived from Latin ‘mitigationem’ and is a noun of action from the past participle stem of ‘mitigare’.

Related words: mitigate, mitigating, mitigated.


Addressing the harmful effects of climate change, and climate change mitigation in response to it, has been a worldwide topic for some time:

“According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC AR4), global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70 per cent between 1970 and 2004. With current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, these emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades.” United Nations. 2014. Framework convention on climate change. ‘FOCUS: Mitigation’ (1).

When a crime has been committed, a court will normally take mitigating factors or circumstances into account before sentencing:

Mitigating factors:

Factors indicating lower culpability: a greater degree of provocation than normally expected;
mental illness or disability; youth or age, where it affects the responsibility of the individual defendant; the fact that the offender played only a minor role in the offence.

Offender mitigation:

Genuine remorse; admissions to police in interview; ready co-operation with authorities.” Sentencing Council. 2017: ‘Aggravating and mitigating factors’ (2).


1. a reduction in the harmful effects of something
2. things that are said in a court of law to explain why someone committed a crime to make it seem less bad

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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