pan·​a·​cea | \ ˌpa-nə-ˈsē-ə \

Definition of panacea 

: a remedy for all ills or difficulties : cure-all The law will improve the lives of local farmers, but it is no panacea.

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Other Words from panacea

panacean \ ˌpa-​nə-​ˈsē-​ən \ adjective

Panacea Comes From the Name of a Greek Goddess

Panacea comes from a Greek word meaning "all-healing", and Panacea was the goddess of healing. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, alchemists who sought to concoct the "elixir of life" (which would give eternal life) and the "philosopher's stone" (which would turn ordinary metals into gold) also labored to find the panacea. But no such medicine was ever found, just as no solution to all of a society's difficulties has ever been found. Thus, panacea is almost always used to criticize the very idea of a total solution ("There's no panacea for the current problems plaguing Wall Street").

Examples of panacea in a Sentence

The law will improve the lives of local farmers, but it is no panacea. a woman who seems to believe that chicken soup is a panacea for nearly everything

Recent Examples on the Web

What makes this prospect of diagnostic inflation so unsettling is that, from some distance, the development looks like a service to those in pain, a panacea from the tippy top of the system. John Ericson, Newsweek, "'A Pill for Every Ill'," 6 Feb. 2014 Likewise, safe injection sites are not some sort of panacea. Nestor Ramos,, "A practical plan for fighting overdoses — but not in Massachusetts," 1 May 2018 The path forward Power-sharing is certainly not a panacea or a one-size-fits-all solution to resolve conflict. Alexander Noyes, Washington Post, "Could a power-sharing arrangement end protests in Togo? It’s complicated.," 24 Feb. 2018 Clearly, even after the small fortune invested in technology and training, the video-assistant-referee system, known as V.A.R., is no panacea. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Video Review Will Make the World Cup Better, but Not Quieter," 17 June 2018 Though there's no panacea for defending Brady, the most proven method for handling him remains generating consistent disruption from the defensive line. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "Super Bowl matchups to watch: Can Eagles hound Tom Brady to upset Patriots?," 3 Feb. 2018 Of course, the Obama center is not a panacea for all of the problems caused by the city’s long history of disinvestment in minority communities. Dahleen Glanton,, "Obama Presidential Center is not only for the South Side," 2 July 2018 Rolling back marijuana testing for job applicants isn’t a panacea, Wozniak said. NBC News, "Weed the people: Companies relax drug-testing policies in bid to attract more workers," 7 May 2018 This panacea-like image has raised questions about whether the hype has overshot the technology’s current capabilities. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Steven Cohen's Venture Capital Firm Gets Into Crypto With New Partner," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panacea.' 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 panacea

1548, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for panacea

Latin, from Greek panakeia, from panakēs all-healing, from pan- + akos remedy

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Time Traveler for panacea

The first known use of panacea was in 1548

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English Language Learners Definition of panacea

: something that will make everything about a situation better


pan·​a·​cea | \ ˌpan-ə-ˈsē-ə \

Medical Definition of panacea 

: a remedy for all ills or difficulties

Other Words from panacea

panacean \ -​ˈsē-​ən \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on panacea

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for panacea

Spanish Central: Translation of panacea

Nglish: Translation of panacea for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of panacea for Arabic Speakers

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