verb pla·cate \ ˈplā-ˌkāt , ˈpla- \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of placate

placated; placating
: to soothe or mollify especially by concessions : appease




play \ˈplā-ˌkā-tiŋ-lē, ˈpla-\ adverb


play \plā-ˈkā-shən, pla-\ noun


play \ˈplā-ˌkā-tiv, ˈpla-\ adjective


play \ˈplā-kə-ˌtȯr-ē, ˈpla-\ adjective

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Examples of placate in a Sentence

  1. Although Rumsfeld was later thrown overboard by the Administration in an attempt to placate critics of the Iraq War, his military revolution was here to stay. —Jeremy ScahillNation2 Apr. 2007
  2. The first step that women took in their emancipation was to adopt traditional male roles: to insist on their right to wear trousers, not to placate, not to smile, not to be decorative. —Fay WeldonHarper'sMay 1998
  3. These spirits inhabited natural objects, like rivers and mountains, including celestial bodies, like the sun and moon. They had to be placated and their favors sought in order to ensure the fertility of the soil and the rotation of the seasons. —Stephen W. HawkingA Brief History of Time1988
  4. But it seems important to the Thunderbirds to make a big deal out of this; evidently it placates congressmen who don't think the Air Force should be in show biz. —Frank DefordSports Illustrated3 Aug. 1987
  5. The administration placated protesters by agreeing to consider their demands.

  6. The angry customer was not placated by the clerk's apology.

Recent Examples of placate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'placate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Soothe Yourself With the History of placate

The earliest documented uses of "placate" in English date from the late 17th century. The word is derived from Latin placatus, the past participle of "placare," and even after more than 300 years in English, it still carries the basic meaning of its Latin ancestor: to soothe or "to appease." Other "placare" descendants in English are "implacable" (meaning "not easily soothed or satisfied") and "placation" ("the act of soothing or appeasing"). Even "please" itself, derived from Latin placēre ("to please"), is a distant relative of "placate."

Origin and Etymology of placate

Latin placatus, past participle of placare — more at please

Synonym Discussion of placate

pacify, appease, placate, mollify, propitiate, conciliate mean to ease the anger or disturbance of. pacify suggests a soothing or calming.
    • pacified by a sincere apology
appease implies quieting insistent demands by making concessions.
    • appease their territorial ambitions
placate suggests changing resentment or bitterness to goodwill.
    • a move to placate local opposition
mollify implies soothing hurt feelings or rising anger.
    • a speech that mollified the demonstrators
propitiate implies averting anger or malevolence especially of a superior being.
    • propitiated his parents by dressing up
conciliate suggests ending an estrangement by persuasion, concession, or settling of differences.
    • conciliating the belligerent nations

PLACATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of placate for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (someone) to feel less angry about something

PLACATE Defined for Kids


verb pla·cate \ ˈplā-ˌkāt , ˈpla- \

Definition of placate for Students

placated; placating
: to calm the anger of
  • The apology did little to placate customers.

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having an air of easy unconcern

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