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

That said, simply having a permanent trust fund isn’t a fiscal panacea, Haggerty said. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Is it too late for Colorado to capture billions of dollars in oil and gas tax revenues in a permanent fund?," 18 Aug. 2019 The French Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Medicine both repeatedly rebuffed or ignored Mesmer and his claims of a miraculous panacea. National Geographic, "Was this hypnotic health craze an elaborate hoax or a medical breakthrough?," 5 Mar. 2019 His proposal for a global summit of democracies, whose leaders would focus on fighting authoritarianism and corruption is no panacea; something similar was tried before under President Bill Clinton. Trudy Rubin, The Mercury News, "Rubin: Joe Biden has advanced the key foreign-policy issue of 2020," 16 July 2019 Freer trade won’t be a panacea for development challenges that range from poor infrastructure to corruption. The Christian Science Monitor, "Quiet mediators in noisy places," 10 July 2019 So perhaps a change of scenery will prove the panacea. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Does Butler’s arrival mean less opportunity for Herro?," 4 July 2019 Viewed from this perspective, statist health-care reform seems more like a false pledge than a real panacea: a magic pill that, once swallowed, will obviate our responsibility to confront our ailing relationships and unhealthy choices. William A. Estes, National Review, "The American Medical Association Flirts with Socialized Medicine," 28 June 2019 Facebook has leaned on artificial intelligence as a kind of panacea for its moderation woes. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Hundreds of active and former police officers are part of extremist Facebook groups," 14 June 2019 Experts warn the treatment is not a panacea and should be used with caution. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "Alabama governor signs “chemical castration” bill for some sex offenders," 11 June 2019

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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Pan's pipes






Statistics for panacea

Last Updated

22 Aug 2019

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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

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

Comments on panacea

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


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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