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 Chile’s health minister admitted in March that the careless behavior of holidaymakers caused the spike in infections and that authorities should have been clearer that vaccines alone are not a panacea. Luke Taylor, Scientific American, "Reckless Rush to Reopen Threatens Chile’s Exemplary Vaccination Strategy," 5 May 2021 Corporate messages are not a panacea, of course, and many companies will rightfully be called out for empty virtue signaling. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, "How America’s CEOs responded to the Derek Chauvin verdict," 21 Apr. 2021 The office isn’t a panacea and there are benefits to working from home—flexibility and embracing the full spectrum of work-life needs are at the top of the list. Tracy Brower, Forbes, "The Great Return: What Google, Amazon, Wells Fargo And Goldman Sachs Are Getting Right About The Office," 5 Apr. 2021 The results of the new study, while encouraging, show that Opdivo is not a panacea, said Dr. Wayne Hofstetter, director of the esophageal surgery program at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center. Anna Kuchment, Dallas News, "New drug doubles disease-free survival in esophageal cancer," 31 Mar. 2021 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

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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Statistics for panacea

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Panacea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 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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