mol·​li·​fy ˈmä-lə-ˌfī How to pronounce mollify (audio)
mollified; mollifying

transitive verb

: to soothe in temper or disposition : appease
mollified the staff with a raise
: to reduce the rigidity of : soften
Shaving cream mollifies the beard.
: to reduce in intensity : assuage, temper
Time mollified his anger.
mollification noun

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The Difference Between Mollify, Appease, and Placate

Mollify, like its synonyms pacify, appease, and placate, means "to ease the anger or disturbance of." But mollify is particularly well-suited for referring to an act of soothing hurt feelings or anger; it comes from the Latin mollis, meaning "soft."

Choose the Right Synonym for mollify

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

Examples of mollify in a Sentence

He tried to mollify his critics with an apology. All attempts to mollify the extremists have failed. The landlord fixed the heat, but the tenants still were not mollified.
Recent Examples on the Web The enforcement focus on Balboa Park certainly hasn’t mollified Bill Walton, the civic figure and former NBA star who continues to be one of Gloria’s most unrelenting critics on homelessness. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Sep. 2023 The situation on the Hill is even more important considering the White House’s continued effort to mollify the Chinese Communist Party. The Editors, National Review, 11 Aug. 2023 In 1996, Republican nominee Bob Dole needed to mollify supply-side conservatives with his veep pick. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 11 Sep. 2023 To address the funding problem and mollify federal government critics, supporters of the act propose steering more conservation money to state and tribal programs. John Flesher, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2023 No revelation that may emerge after former president Donald Trump’s arraignment Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse is likely to mollify the angry partisans outraged by the sheer fact of his indictment. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2023 Nor is he mollified by the idea of moving everyone to a nearby lot. David Wharton, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2023 Meanwhile, the White House had work of its own to mollify rank-and-file Democrats. Stephen Groves, Fortune, 2 June 2023 While the effort can thus be seen as an attempt to mollify the party’s Big Oil donors and motivate its far-right base, that doesn’t mean the negative attention won’t have concrete effects on investors and markets. Tim Quinson,, 8 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mollify.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English mollifien, from Middle French mollifier, from Late Latin mollificare, from Latin mollis soft; akin to Greek amaldynein to soften, Sanskrit mṛdu soft, and probably to Greek malakos soft, amblys dull, Old English meltan to melt

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mollify was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near mollify

Cite this Entry

“Mollify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


mol·​li·​fy ˈmäl-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce mollify (audio)
mollified; mollifying
: to reduce the harshness or violence of
: to soothe in temper or disposition : conciliate
mollification noun

More from Merriam-Webster on mollify

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