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

Then again, when leading tailbacks Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny have just six combined NFL games between them, the ground game isn’t a likely panacea. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks should have embraced rebuild and traded Earl Thomas," 18 Sep. 2018 Nonetheless, politicians often treat gambling much like colonists did: as a panacea, a quick and painless way to raise a windfall. Jonathan D. Cohen, Vox, "How lottery money helped build the United States," 24 Oct. 2018 But even SafeTrack, a rehabilitation program that compacted three years of repair work into one, was not viewed as a panacea. Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post, "‘Ongoing dumpster fire’: How close the federal government came to shutting down Metro," 23 June 2018 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

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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Statistics for panacea

Last Updated

21 Mar 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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