pal·​li·​ate | \ ˈpa-lē-ˌāt How to pronounce palliate (audio) \
palliated; palliating

Definition of palliate

transitive verb

1 : to reduce the violence of (a disease) also : to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease drugs to palliate the pain
2 : to cover by excuses and apologies tried to palliate his blunder
3 : to moderate the intensity of trying to palliate the boredom did nothing to palliate the bitter disputes

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Other Words from palliate

palliation \ ˌpa-​lē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce palliate (audio) \ noun
palliator \ ˈpa-​lē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce palliate (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Long ago, the ancient Romans had a name for the cloak-like garb that was worn by the Greeks (distinguishing it from their own "toga"); the name was "pallium." In the 15th century, English speakers modified the Late Latin word palliatus, which derives from "pallium," to form "palliate." Our term, used initially as both an adjective and a verb, never had the literal Latin sense referring to the cloak you wear, but it took on the figurative "cloak" of protection. Specifically, the verb "palliate" meant (as it still can mean) "to lessen the intensity of a disease." Nowadays, "palliate" can be used as a synonym of "gloss" or "whitewash" when someone is attempting to disguise something bad.

Examples of palliate in a Sentence

treatments that can palliate the painful symptoms of the disease don't try to palliate your constant lying by claiming that everybody lies
Recent Examples on the Web In an effort to palliate these advocates, legislators offered a work-around, passing legislation to relax the restrictions on bail funds, allowing them to post higher bails and to bail out people facing Class-A felony charges. Nick Pinto, The New Republic, "Criminal justice reformers are rethinking the crusade against cash bail.," 6 Apr. 2020 And growing evidence of its propensity to palliate pain and nausea fueled the push for medical marijuana. Special To The Oregonian,, "'Grass Roots' chronicles marijuana laws' disjointed history in the U.S.," 12 Dec. 2017

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

First Known Use of palliate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for palliate

Middle English, from Late Latin palliatus, past participle of palliare to cloak, conceal, from Latin pallium cloak

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

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Cite this Entry

“Palliate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for palliate



English Language Learners Definition of palliate

formal : to make the effects of (something, such as an illness) less painful, harmful, or harsh


transitive verb
pal·​li·​ate | \ ˈpal-ē-ˌāt How to pronounce palliate (audio) \
palliated; palliating

Medical Definition of palliate

: to reduce the intensity or severity of (a disease) also : to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease

Other Words from palliate

palliation \ ˌpal-​ē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce palliate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on palliate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for palliate

Nglish: Translation of palliate for Spanish Speakers

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