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WordWealth: militate

mil·i·tate \MIL-ih-tayt\, v.i., -tat·ed, -tat·ing.

1. to have a substantial effect; weigh heavily: His prison record militated against him. 2. Obs. a. to be a soldier. b. to fight for a belief. [1615–25; < L mīlitātus (ptp. of mīlitāre to serve as a soldier), equiv. to mīlit- (s. of mīles) soldier + -ātus -ATE1]

mili·tation, n.

Usage. See mitigate.

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In our current era of politics, many factors militate against changes in policies. —— Reed Hundt, You Say You Want a Revolution

Even though Simpson's youth, limited professional experience, lack of reputation, unmarried status, and modest social origins all militated against success, the twenty-eight-year-old Simpson applied for the post. —— Donald Caton, What a Blessing She Had Chloroform

By 2003 many of the uncertainties which militate against a "yes" might be resolved. —— Anatole Kaletsky, "Why Brown is right to put off the euro test," Times (London), June 21, 2001


mit·i·gate , v., -gat·ed, -gat·ing.


1. to lessen in force or intensity, as wrath, grief, harshness, or pain; moderate. 2. to make less severe: to mitigate a punishment. 3. to make (a person, one's state of mind, disposition, etc.) milder or more gentle; mollify; appease.


4. to become milder; lessen in severity.

[1375–1425; late ME mitigaten < L mītigātus (ptp. of mītigāre to calm, soften, soothe), equiv. to mīt(is) mild, soft, gentle + -ig- (comb. form of agere to do, cause to do, make) + -ātus -ATE1]

mit·i·ga·ble , adj.

miti·gated·ly, adv.

miti·gation, n.

miti·gative, mit·i·ga·to·ry , adj.

miti·gator, n.

Usage. MITIGATE, whose central meaning is "to lessen" or "make less severe," is sometimes confused with MILITATE, "to have effect or influence," in the phrase mitigate against: This criticism in no way militates (not mitigates) against your going ahead with your research. Although this use of MITIGATE occasionally occurs in edited writing, it is rare and is widely regarded as an error. Look at Thesaurus in depth, for "mitigate".


Related word: mollify

mol·li·fy , v.t., -fied, -fy·ing.

1. to soften in feeling or temper, as a person; pacify; appease. 2. to mitigate or reduce; soften: to mollify one's demands. [1350–1400; ME < MF mollifier < LL mollificāre, equiv. to L molli(s) soft + -ficāre -FY]

molli·fi·cation, n.

molli·fier, n.

molli·fying·ly, adv.

molli·fia·ble, adj.

(Random House Webster's Unabridged). Look at Thesaurus in depth, for "mollify".


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