pacify

verb
pac·​i·​fy | \ ˈpa-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce pacify (audio) \
pacified; pacifying

Definition of pacify

transitive verb

1a : to allay the anger or agitation of : soothe pacify a crying child
b : appease, propitiate tried to pacify the enemy with compromises
2a : 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

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Other Words from pacify

pacifiable \ ˌpa-​sə-​ˈfī-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce pacifiable (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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."

Examples of pacify in a Sentence

She resigned from her position to pacify her accusers. Their efforts to pacify the nation by force failed. trying to pacify a mob of protesters
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Recent Examples on the Web According to the Telegraph’s Mike Wright, the fort likely served as a satellite of Isca Dumnoniorum, a military fortification garrisoned by 5,500 legionaries tasked with pacifying the fiercely resisting local populations in the region. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Construction Reveals Remnants of Roman Fort Below British Bus Station," 27 Sep. 2019 In an attempt to pacify farmers, the Department of Agriculture created an expansive new program without precedent. BostonGlobe.com, "WASHINGTON — Senior government officials, including some in the White House, privately expressed concern that the Trump administration’s nearly $30 billion bailout for farmers needed stronger legal backing, according to multiple people who participated in the planning.," 10 Sep. 2019 The recent withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill, initially the trigger of the demonstrations, has done little to pacify public anger. Time, "Hong Kong's Protestors Have Their Own Special Slang. Here's a Glossary of Some Common Terms," 6 Sep. 2019 Maybe the Texans make some other creature-comfort maneuver to pacify the head coach because, at least from the outside, that seems to be most important. Conor Orr, SI.com, "In a Stunning, Unexpected Move, Texans Fire GM Brian Gaine," 7 June 2019 In an attempt to pacify farmers, the Department of Agriculture created an expansive new program without precedent. BostonGlobe.com, "WASHINGTON — Senior government officials, including some in the White House, privately expressed concern that the Trump administration’s nearly $30 billion bailout for farmers needed stronger legal backing, according to multiple people who participated in the planning.," 10 Sep. 2019 In an attempt to pacify farmers, the Department of Agriculture created an expansive new program without precedent. Jeff Stein, Washington Post, "As billions flow to farmers, Trump administration faces internal concerns over unprecedented bailout," 9 Sep. 2019 Cheung, who wants more autonomy from Beijing, increasingly has been unable to pacify the police and is ignored by the youthful protesters who once saw him as an ally. Matt Bradley, NBC News, "As Hong Kong protests turn violent, one man fights to preserve middle ground," 24 Aug. 2019 In a bid to pacify Mercosur’s demand for a more favorable beef quota, the EU also agreed to import up to 180,000 tons each of poultry and sugar, duty-free. Jeffrey T. Lewis, WSJ, "EU, Mercosur Reach Agreement on Trade," 28 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pacify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pacify

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

History and Etymology for pacify

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

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for pacify

The first known use of pacify was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for pacify

pacify

verb
How to pronounce pacify (audio)

English Language Learners 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

pacify

verb
pac·​i·​fy | \ ˈpa-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce pacify (audio) \
pacified; pacifying

Kids Definition of pacify

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on pacify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pacify

Spanish Central: Translation of pacify

Nglish: Translation of pacify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pacify for Arabic Speakers

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