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[pal-ee-eyt] /ˈpæl iˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), palliated, palliating.
to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
to try to mitigate or conceal the gravity of (an offense) by excuses, apologies, etc.; extenuate.
Origin of palliate
First recorded in 1540-50, palliate is from the Late Latin word palliātus cloaked, covered. See pallium, -ate1
Related forms
palliation, noun
palliator, noun
nonpalliation, noun
unpalliated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for palliation
Historical Examples
  • But what then can I plead for a palliation to myself of my mother's sufferings on my account?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • This was a dreadful state of affairs indeed, and one which admits of no palliation.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • What had I to do but to try for a palliation of my confusion, since it served me not?

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The prisoner felt that nothing could be said in palliation of this charge.

    A Waif of the Mountains Edward S. Ellis
  • "She's pretty near all in," he said, in palliation of this action.

    They of the High Trails

    Hamlin Garland
  • Sometimes remorse is advanced by criminals as a palliation of their crimes.

    Criminal Man Gina Lombroso-Ferrero
  • Appearances were against you, and your condemnation was my brother's palliation, if not acquittal.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • But that, as any critic who is not an advocate must see, is no palliation.

  • What have you to say in palliation of the injury you have done me?

  • There was not a word of excuse, explanation, or palliation in it from beginning to end.

    Blue Lights R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for palliation


verb (transitive)
to lessen the severity of (pain, disease, etc) without curing or removing; alleviate; mitigate
to cause (an offence) to seem less serious by concealing evidence; extenuate
Derived Forms
palliation, noun
palliator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin palliāre to cover up, from Latin pallium a cloak, pallium
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for palliation



"alleviate without curing," early 15c., from Medieval Latin palliatus, literally "cloaked," from past participle of Late Latin palliare "cover with a cloak, conceal," from Latin pallium "cloak" (see pall (n.)). Related: Palliated; palliating; palliation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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palliation in Medicine

palliate pal·li·ate (pāl'ē-āt')
v. pal·li·at·ed, pal·li·at·ing, pal·li·ates
To reduce the severity of; to relieve somewhat.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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