Suppose I have taken some measures thus the load borne by the server is reduced. Could I say that I have "relieved the load on the server"?

Oxford dictionary gives the usage of "relieve" that "Cause (pain, distress, or difficulty) to become less severe or serious", but I don't know whether this usage of "relieve" applies to "load".

Another usage of "relieve" given by the same page from oxford dictionary is that "(relieve someone of) Take (a burden) from someone", but what I want is to reduce the load on the server instead of removing the load from the server. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  • It would be more common to say that you have "reduced the load on the server" or possibly "mitigated some of the server load".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 0:44
  • I don't know if reduce or mitigate would be more common, but I can't think of any reason to suppose that either one is necessarily better than relieve. Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 7:29

3 Answers 3


Yes. It is a correct phrase. It assumes that your listener or reader knows or can readily infer that the load was a problem or difficulty (e.g., that it was too heavy) before you relieved it.

It means that you either made the load less serious or that you eliminated it completely.

If the context requires more precise language, you can find some; however, it appears to make perfect sense in most real-world contexts.


We also find an apposite dictionary definition:

"6. reduce (a pressure, load, weight, etc., on a device or object under stress): to relieve the steam pressure; to relieve the stress on the supporting walls."



As ColleenV commented, "reduced" would definitely be most common.

"mitigated" is technically correct but sounds like you are trying hard to use an impressive word -- a native speaker would almost never use "mitigate" here.

"relieved" is actually fine, and I could see a native speaker using it.

  • I see no reason for speculating that a person using the phrase would be personifying the servers. If a new bridge relieved traffic congestion, would we assume that traffic is being personified? Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 7:33
  • Jim, on second thought, I think you're right. Answer edited.
    – Jonah
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 12:55
  • I don't think I would lump mitigate in with words like utilize that are typically used to inflate the importance of what you're saying. It does depend on the context and your audience though. Mitigate to me implies something slightly different from reduce, that is, reducing something that is undesireably high, like risk or server load that's causing performance issues. It is formal though and it may be that it's more acceptable to me because that's the word we use in the environment I work in.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 21:22
  • i use the word sometimes, its the word in this context that would be strained imo, not the word itself. and of course in speech tone, confidence, etc could allow one to pull it off, but i stand by recommendation for a non native speaker
    – Jonah
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 21:27

Relief connotes a short-lived reduction of some distress or pain. To reduce the load suggests that the effect will be more long-lasting and possibly permanent.

  • The effect of relieving can be short-term, long-term, or permanent. Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 16:36

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