pan·​a·​cea | \ ˌpa-nə-ˈsē-ə How to pronounce panacea (audio) \

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 How to pronounce panacean (audio) \ 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 But even a company as large and moneyed as Apple doesn't have a panacea for every privacy woe. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Apple Pushes Back Against Ad Tracking in Safari and iOS 14," 22 June 2020 Implicit bias training may not be an easy panacea, Banaji says, but it shouldn’t be scrapped entirely. Candice Wang, Popular Science, "Can implicit bias training help cops overcome racism?," 16 June 2020 But anecdotally from those who swear by it, The Cream acts as a kind of panacea, albeit a pricy one. Rachel Krause,, "How Augustinus Bader Became A Cult Skin-Care Brand Overnight," 25 May 2020 Experts caution, though, that shortening the workweek is not a panacea. NBC News, "A four-day work week might be exactly what the U.S. — and its economy — needs right now," 21 May 2020 By now, people treat neural networks as a kind of AI panacea, capable of solving tech challenges that can be restated as a problem of pattern recognition. Quanta Magazine, "Symbolic Mathematics Finally Yields to Neural Networks," 20 May 2020 Turning everything digital isn’t a panacea, of course. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, "The Tensions Underlying Pakistan’s Ramadan Decision," 7 May 2020 Several dozen countries, states, universities and companies are racing to develop and begin using the digital tools, which public health experts said could improve person-to-person contact tracing but are not a panacea. New York Times, "A Scramble for Virus Apps That Do No Harm," 29 Apr. 2020 In practice, though, being open source is no panacea. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "GitHub Takes Aim at Open Source Software Vulnerabilities," 6 May 2020

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

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The first known use of panacea was in 1548

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Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Panacea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for panacea


How to pronounce panacea (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of panacea

somewhat formal : something that will make everything about a situation better


pan·​a·​cea | \ ˌpan-ə-ˈsē-ə How to pronounce panacea (audio) \

Medical Definition of panacea

: a remedy for all ills or difficulties

Other Words from panacea

panacean \ -​ˈsē-​ən How to pronounce panacean (audio) \ 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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