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verb pac·i·fy \ˈpa-sə-ˌfī\

Simple Definition of pacify

  • : to cause (someone who is angry or upset) to become calm or quiet

  • : to cause or force (a country, a violent group of people, etc.) to become peaceful

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pacify


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to allay the anger or agitation of :  soothe <pacify a crying child> b :  appease, propitiate

  3. 2 a :  to restore to a tranquil state :  settle <made an attempt to pacify the commotion> b :  to reduce to a submissive state :  subdue <forces moved in to pacify the country>

pacifiable play \ˌpa-sə-ˈfī-ə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of pacify in a sentence

  1. She resigned from her position to pacify her accusers.

  2. Their efforts to pacify the nation by force failed.

  3. trying to pacify a mob of protesters

Did You Know?

A parent who wants to win a little peace and quiet might give a fussy baby a pacifier. An employer seeking to avoid worker discontent might pay employees well. These actions may seem unrelated, but, etymologically speaking, they have a lot in common. Both "pacifier" and "pay" are ultimately derived from "pax," the Latin word for "peace." As you may have guessed, "pax" is also the source of our word peace. "Pacify" comes to us through Middle English "pacifien," from the Latin verb pacificare, which derives from "pax."

Origin of pacify

Middle English pacifien, from Anglo-French pacifier, from Latin pacificare, from pac-, pax peace

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of pacify

pacify, appease, placate, mollify, propitiate, conciliate mean to ease the anger or disturbance of. pacify suggests a soothing or calming <pacified by a sincere apology>. appease implies quieting insistent demands by making concessions <appease their territorial ambitions>. placate suggests changing resentment or bitterness to goodwill <a move to placate local opposition>. mollify implies soothing hurt feelings or rising anger <a speech that mollified the demonstrators>. propitiate implies averting anger or malevolence especially of a superior being <propitiated his parents by dressing up>. conciliate suggests ending an estrangement by persuasion, concession, or settling of differences <conciliating the belligerent nations>.

PACIFY Defined for Kids


verb pac·i·fy \ˈpa-sə-ˌfī\

Definition of pacify for Students


  1. :  to make peaceful or quiet :  calm, soothe <The babysitter tried to pacify the crying baby.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pacify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


expressing little or no emotion

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