pal·​li·​ate | \ˈpa-lē-ˌāt \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from palliate

palliation \ ˌpa-​lē-​ˈā-​shən \ noun
palliator \ ˈpa-​lē-​ˌā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for palliate


allay, alleviate, assuage, ease, help, mitigate, mollify, relieve, soothe


aggravate, exacerbate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about palliate

Listen to Our Podcast about palliate

Dictionary Entries near palliate








Statistics for palliate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for palliate

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for palliate



English Language Learners Definition of palliate

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


transitive verb
pal·​li·​ate | \ˈpal-ē-ˌāt \
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 \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on palliate

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!