palliate \PAL-ee-ayt\, transitive verb:
1. To reduce in violence (said of diseases, etc.); to lessen or abate.
2. To cover by excuses and apologies; to extenuate.
3. To reduce in severity; to make less intense.
He was widely praised in both East and West as a humanitarian seeking to palliate the excesses of a cruel regime.
-- Joseph Finder, "The Trade in Spies: Not All Black or White", New York Times, June 22, 1993