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
In our current era of politics, many factors militate
against changes in policies. ——
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. ——
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
(London), June 21, 2001
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;
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
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,
Related word: mollify
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
House Webster's Unabridged). Look at
Thesaurus in depth,
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