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See more synonyms for palliate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), pal·li·at·ed, pal·li·at·ing.
  1. to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
  2. to try to mitigate or conceal the gravity of (an offense) by excuses, apologies, etc.; extenuate.
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Origin of palliate

First recorded in 1540–50, palliate is from the Late Latin word palliātus cloaked, covered. See pallium, -ate1
Related formspal·li·a·tion, nounpal·li·a·tor, nounnon·pal·li·a·tion, nounun·pal·li·at·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for palliate

Historical Examples

  • This expedient to palliate my folly was thought of—but not by me.

    Some Reminiscences

    Joseph Conrad

  • We have no wish to palliate any act of Calvin's which is manifestly wrong.

  • There was even a palpable deficiency in Henrys claim, which no art could palliate.

    King Henry the Fifth

    William Shakespeare

  • This was a political fault, which no circumstances can palliate.

  • There are things which cannot be extenuated however we may try to palliate them.

British Dictionary definitions for palliate


verb (tr)
  1. to lessen the severity of (pain, disease, etc) without curing or removing; alleviate; mitigate
  2. to cause (an offence) to seem less serious by concealing evidence; extenuate
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Derived Formspalliation, nounpalliator, 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

Word Origin and History for palliate


"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

palliate in Medicine


  1. To reduce the severity of; to relieve somewhat.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.