1 of 3

verb (1)

palled; palling; palls

intransitive verb

: to lose strength or effectiveness
: to lose in interest or attraction
his humor began to pall on us
He found that his retirement hobbies began to pall after a couple of years.
: dwindle
our enthusiasm soon palled

transitive verb

: to cause to become insipid
reason and reflection … pall all his enjoymentsFrancis Atterbury
: to deprive of pleasure in something by satiating
The choicest delicacies pall the stomach in time.


2 of 3


: a square of linen usually stiffened with cardboard that is used to cover the chalice
: a heavy cloth draped over a coffin
: a coffin especially when holding a body
: something that covers or conceals
especially : an overspreading element that produces an effect of gloom
a pall of thick black smoke
a pall of suspicion
: a feeling of gloom
his absence cast a pall over the celebration


3 of 3

verb (2)

palled; palling; palls

transitive verb

: to cover with a pall : drape
Choose the Right Synonym for pall

satiate, sate, surfeit, cloy, pall, glut, gorge mean to fill to repletion.

satiate and sate may sometimes imply only complete satisfaction but more often suggest repletion that has destroyed interest or desire.

years of globe-trotting had satiated their interest in travel
readers were sated with sensationalistic stories

surfeit implies a nauseating repletion.

surfeited themselves with junk food

cloy stresses the disgust or boredom resulting from such surfeiting.

sentimental pictures that cloy after a while

pall emphasizes the loss of ability to stimulate interest or appetite.

a life of leisure eventually begins to pall

glut implies excess in feeding or supplying.

a market glutted with diet books

gorge suggests glutting to the point of bursting or choking.

gorged themselves with chocolate

Examples of pall in a Sentence

Noun bearing her husband's pall were her four brothers and two nephews a persistent pall of distrust has overtaken this administration and will remain until the president resigns
Recent Examples on the Web
But three weeks into their stay — Spain arrived in New Zealand well in advance of its first game, hoping to draw the sting from the jet lag — the place had started to pall. Rory Smith, New York Times, 3 Aug. 2023 But after a time, the combination of abrasive, impenetrably shellacked characters and deliberately, hopelessly tangled shaggy-dog storytelling begins to pall, and viewers may wish for a simpler way in. Guy Lodge, Variety, 7 Aug. 2022 The piling-one-emergency-atop-another structure — always a tricky thing to sustain — does begin to pall in the later going as inspiration tapers off a bit. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 2 June 2022 For some, this too muchness, married to Wilder’s bookish mischief, will pall. New York Times, 25 Apr. 2022 If there was no Venice, does that mean that the overall attraction of an Adriatic cruise would pall? Julia Buckley, CNN, 8 May 2021 Reduced to highlights and stripped of distinction, Percy’s adventures with Furies, oracles, Medusa, Ares and Hades quickly pall. Jesse Green, New York Times, 16 Oct. 2019 After a while, though, Inuk Mathaussen found even that started to pall. New York Times, 16 Sep. 2019 Grant’s drinking is handled so repetitively that the subject begins to pall. Janet Maslin, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2017
The ongoing actors strike has cast a pall over this year’s American Film Market, which runs through Sunday, with far fewer projects on offer at the AFM‘s new headquarters in the Le Meriden Delfina hotel. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Nov. 2023 Now the company is back in the spotlight, and its inability to resolve matters with its lenders is casting a pall over China’s real estate landscape, already littered with signs of insolvency. Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, 28 Sep. 2023 Instead, the grim reality of business is casting a pall over the healthcare sector. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 28 Oct. 2023 The litigation, Missouri v. Biden, is at the center of a growing conservative legal and political movement that has cast a pall over efforts to fight misinformation online. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2023 The escalating campaign — led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other Republicans in Congress and state government — has cast a pall over programs that study not just political falsehoods but also the quality of medical information online. Joseph Menn, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023 The impact is perhaps most visible in the real estate market, where the run-up in mortgage rates has cast a pall over homebuying. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 20 Sep. 2023 The pall of Depp’s 2022 court case against his ex-wife Amber Heard couldn’t compare with the cloak of gloom that Depp and bandmates Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, and Tommy Henriksen cast over a spellbound sea of fans. Victoria Wasylak,, 29 July 2023 The wildfire smoke that has cast a sickly pall over major cities across the eastern United States snarled air travel Thursday, creating headaches for big aviation hubs and upending plans for thousands of travelers. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 8 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pall.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (1)

Middle English, short for appallen to become pale — more at appall


Middle English, cloak, mantle, from Old English pæll, from Latin pallium

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pall was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pall

Cite this Entry

“Pall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a heavy cloth covering for a coffin, hearse, or tomb
: a chalice cover made of a square piece of stiffened linen
: something that covers, darkens, or produces a gloomy effect
a pall of black smoke
: a feeling of gloom
his bad mood cast a pall over the celebration


2 of 2 verb
: to become dull or uninteresting : lose the ability to give pleasure
the excitement of the party quickly began to pall

More from Merriam-Webster on pall

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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