Simple Definition of propitiate
: to make (someone) pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired
Examples of propitiate in a sentence
He made an offering to propitiate the angry gods.
<the temple was once the site of sacrifices—both to honor the gods in times of plenty and to propitiate them in times of trouble>
Did You Know?
Like its synonym "appease," propitiate means "to ease the anger or disturbance of," but there are subtle differences between the two terms as well. "Appease" usually implies quieting insistent demands by making concessions, whereas "propitiate" tends to suggest averting the anger or malevolence of a superior being. In fact, "propitiate" often occurs - as in our first example sentence - in contexts involving deities, spirits, or other preternatural forces. You might "appease" your hunger, but to speak more colorfully, you could "propitiate the gods of hunger."
Origin and Etymology of propitiate
Latin propitiatus, past participle of propitiare, from propitius propitious
First Known Use: 1583
Synonym Discussion of propitiate
Seen and Heard
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