pla·cate | \ ˈplā-ˌkāt , ˈpla- \
placated; placating

Definition of placate 

transitive verb

: to soothe or mollify especially by concessions : appease

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from placate

placater noun
placatingly \ˈplā-ˌkā-tiŋ-lē, ˈpla- \ adverb
placation \plā-ˈkā-shən, pla- \ noun
placative \ˈplā-ˌkā-tiv, ˈpla- \ adjective
placatory \ˈplā-kə-ˌtȯr-ē, ˈpla- \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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."

Examples of placate in a Sentence

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 Scahill, Nation, 2 Apr. 2007 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 Weldon, Harper's, May 1998 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. Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1988 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 Deford, Sports Illustrated, 3 Aug. 1987 The administration placated protesters by agreeing to consider their demands. The angry customer was not placated by the clerk's apology.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

YouTube has stripped advertising from many channels to placate companies whose ads ran in front of videos deemed inappropriate. Lucas Shaw,, "YouTube Is Offering a Talent Option to Sell Subscriptions," 22 June 2018 Over the last several months, YouTube has had to reckon with how to placate advertisers without alienating their homegrown talent base. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "YouTube Apologizes for Logan Paul Video: "Suicide Is Not a Joke"," 9 Jan. 2018 Unlike almost every other democratic leader, Mr. Trump doesn’t try to placate critics. Tony Abbott, WSJ, "An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump," 13 July 2018 An enormous percentage of her energy is devoted to placating him. Laura Collins-hughes,, "Waking up is hard to do," 13 July 2018 Whether the combination of the bilateral measures and EU agreement is enough to placate the CSU is not yet clear. David Rising, Fox News, "Report: Merkel secures deal with 14 EU nations on migrants," 30 June 2018 There, the town chief tried to placate the armed visitors with money and a prized cow. Jeremy Roebuck,, "'The only good Krahn man is a dead Krahn man': How culpable is Delco resident for ethnic atrocities in Liberia?," 22 June 2018 The efforts have also been insufficient in placating ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who are deeply distrustful of the government’s plans. Timothy Mclaughlin, Washington Post, "Burma is pumping millions into rebuilding Rakhine. But is it for the Rohingya?," 13 Mar. 2018 Lawmakers were seeking to placate teachers frustrated with low pay and dwindling state funding. Sean Murphy, The Seattle Times, "Group drops effort to repeal tax hikes for Oklahoma teachers," 2 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of placate

1678, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for placate

Latin placatus, past participle of placare — more at please

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about placate

Listen to Our Podcast about placate

Statistics for placate

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for placate

The first known use of placate was in 1678

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for placate



English Language Learners Definition of placate

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


pla·cate | \ ˈplā-ˌkāt , ˈpla- \
placated; placating

Kids Definition of placate

: to calm the anger of The apology did little to placate customers.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on placate

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


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!