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[pal-ee-ey-tiv, -ee-uh-tiv] /ˈpæl iˌeɪ tɪv, -i ə tɪv/
serving to palliate.
something that palliates.
Origin of palliative
From the French word palliatif, dating back to 1535-45. See palliate, -ive
Related forms
palliatively, adverb
nonpalliative, adjective
nonpalliatively, adverb
unpalliative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for palliative
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • During his sickness he sought a palliative for his pains—in the Bible.

  • Insanity may perhaps be the only palliative left to Nature in this extremity.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • For him there was a palliative, or even a gloomy but an unanswerable excuse.

    Devereux, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • As far as Cæsar is concerned, it is palliative rather than condemnatory.

    The Life of Cicero Anthony Trollope
  • Emigration on the largest scale has proved a palliative, but no remedy.

    British Socialism

    J. Ellis Barker
  • There is no excuse,no palliative for such cruel and abominable ingratitude.

    The Sorrows of Satan Marie Corelli
  • But at the end of a few moments this palliative, like the first, had exhausted its effect.

    Gerfaut, Complete Charles de Bernard
British Dictionary definitions for palliative


serving to palliate; relieving without curing
something that palliates, such as a sedative drug or agent
Derived Forms
palliatively, adverb
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 palliative

early 15c., from Middle French palliatif (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin palliativus "under cloak, covert," from Late Latin palliatus (see palliate). As a noun, recorded from 1724.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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palliative in Medicine

palliative pal·li·a·tive (pāl'ē-ā'tĭv, -ē-ə-tĭv)
Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure.

pal'li·a'tive·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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