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 panacea (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 As Captain Chesley Sullenberger points out, automation will never be a panacea for novel situations unanticipated in training. Shem Malmquist, Wired, "The Plane Paradox: More Automation Should Mean More Training," 24 Apr. 2021 But Rusnák acknowledged that a change in nutrition isn’t a panacea. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Albert Rusnák enters final year of RSL contract with high expectations," 22 Apr. 2021 The President's criticism also ignored a key point: The stockpile was never intended -- or funded -- to be a panacea for a pandemic. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "What the Covid-19 war was really like in Trump's White House," 28 Mar. 2021 That said, policymakers should understand that reining in bad patents is not a panacea for drug pricing. Jacob S. Sherkow, STAT, "Reining in drug patents isn’t a silver bullet against high drug prices," 14 Mar. 2021 In the statement, Jain acknowledged that this pledge, while impactful, isn't a panacea for the issues the beauty industry faces as a whole. Jacqueline Kilikita,, "Unilever Is Banning The Word “Normal” From Beauty Products," 9 Mar. 2021 But in-person learning isn't necessarily a pandemic panacea, especially for youngsters learning to read. USA Today, "Students are struggling to read behind masks and screens during COVID, but ‘expectations are no different’," 7 Mar. 2021 Being simply raceblind isn't a panacea either — there’s a great need for the credit system to course-correct and actively redress the entrenched economic injustice that people of colour face. Whizy Kim,, "How Credit Scores Rule — & Ruin — Our Lives," 16 Mar. 2021 But no single game can serve as a panacea for what ails the nation. Sean Gregory, Time, "The Pandemic Super Bowl, Naturally, Was Rough To Watch," 8 Feb. 2021

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of panacea was in 1548

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Last Updated

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Panacea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for panacea



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 panacea (audio) \ adjective

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