pal·​li·​a·​tive | \ ˈpa-lē-ˌā-tiv How to pronounce palliative (audio) , ˈpal-yə- How to pronounce palliative (audio) \

Definition of palliative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving to palliate palliative surgery palliative care palliative drugs



Definition of palliative (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that palliates

Other Words from palliative


palliatively adverb

Examples of palliative in a Sentence

Noun The disease has no cure, but a number of palliatives exist. Travel is like a palliative against depression for him. symbolic palliatives for inner-city troubles
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But, Simmons said, the jury had to weigh the defense's argument as well — that Husel's intent was not malicious, but to reduce the suffering of his patients as part of palliative care. NBC News, 21 Apr. 2022 There is disagreement among even the medical community over the amount of painkillers needed in palliative care. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 Our accommodations were meticulously designed to reflect the dull, vaguely palliative, mid-century interiors that our residents were obsessed with in their twenties and thirties. Cara Michelle Smith, The New Yorker, 12 Apr. 2022 Charlotte Grinberg is a physician-writer and a palliative care fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Charlotte Grinberg, STAT, 30 Mar. 2022 This is especially true and especially wide-ranging, of the Hot Toddy, a drink that is recommended almost exclusively for its palliative effects. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 22 Dec. 2021 Pera, a boyish comedian, simulates a palliative 15 minutes in the bathroom. Marshall Heyman, Vulture, 21 Dec. 2021 Thus many of these practitioners do not believe that their field has much to offer other than palliative treatments or placebo effects. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, 20 Oct. 2021 In one assessment of end-of-life care, a palliative nurse noted that her patients regretted not taking more risks throughout their lives. Ellevate, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Doctors have prescribed Vantas, along with other forms of Lupron, as a palliative for prostate cancer. Tyler O'neil, Fox News, 16 Dec. 2021 The latter were more popular than the former – offering fantasy as a palliative for hardship – and one program in particular proved to be considerably more popular than Yeltsin himself. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 This rewardingly democratic night, in this time of endless crazy, feels like a palliative. Washington Post, 1 July 2021 Eventually, knitting came to seem value-neutral, a kind of personal palliative. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2021 Getting outdoors has never been more important—as a pastime, but also as a palliative for our mental and physical woes. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 These are palliative treatments, and sometimes therapeutic, but my SSRIs are essential. Stuart Leach, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2018 Giving their all Heather Martin is a nurse practitioner working with Goodenough on Methodist's palliative care team, working with patients and their families to create care and quality-of-life planning. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, 22 Apr. 2020 Under the triage criteria, which the Alabama Department of Public Health initially drafted in 2009, many patients could be denied access to ventilators and instead relegated to in-patient or home palliative care. Connor Sheets |, al, 24 Mar. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of palliative


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1656, in the meaning defined above

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

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Last Updated

2 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Palliative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for palliative


pal·​lia·​tive | \ ˈpal-ē-ˌāt-iv How to pronounce palliative (audio) , ˈpal-yət- How to pronounce palliative (audio) \

Medical Definition of palliative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: reducing the severity of a disease or condition without curing it : providing palliative care palliative treatment Although valve replacement is an important advance in the treatment of patients with valve disease, it is a palliative rather than a curative procedure.— Robert A. O'Rourke, The Journal of the American Medical Association

Other Words from palliative

palliatively adverb



Medical Definition of palliative (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that reduces the severity of a disease or condition without curing it


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