Word of the Week: Relief

Word of the Week: Relief

"Are you comforted (another synonym for relief) by the end of Christmas?"

Well, the biggest holiday of the year has come and gone, leaving many of us with a feeling that can be described in a simple word: relief.  Though Christmas is a very enjoyable time of year, it is also chaotic and downright exhausting for many, so this is a perfect word to sum up what is left over when the wrapping paper is cleared and the tree hauled to the curb.

The word relief found its origin in the early 14th century, from Old French and is derived from the word relever, which means to raise.  Today, it has multiple meanings, but according to Dictionary.com, the most prominent one is alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the removal of pain, distress, oppression, etc.

Relief is a versatile word, and can be used to describe not only the feeling but also money or food given to those in need, and even to describe a type of art or texture.  Relief painting, for example, uses texture and raised images to form a design that gives the impression of being in 3D.

Surprisingly, there aren’t many synonyms for relief, and the ones that exist don’t really seem to say the same thing.  It just doesn’t work to say we breathed a sigh of assuagement that the holiday season is at an end, nor can we get away with feeling a sense of mitigation on the day after Christmas.

That’s okay, though.  I think relief sums it up quite nicely and doesn’t need to be replaced by another word.  Are you comforted (another synonym for relief) by the end of Christmas?