verb (used with object), pal·li·at·ed, pal·li·at·ing.

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 formspal·li·a·tion, nounpal·li·a·tor, nounnon·pal·li·a·tion, nounun·pal·li·at·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for palliation

Historical Examples of palliation

  • 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.


    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.

  • "She's pretty near all in," he said, in palliation of this action.

British Dictionary definitions for palliation


verb (tr)

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 Formspalliation, nounpalliator, noun

Word Origin for palliate

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 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

palliation in Medicine




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.