[pruh-pish-ee-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


serving or intended to propitiate.
making propitiation; conciliatory.


Origin of propitiatory

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English propiciatori the mercy seat < Late Latin propitiātōrium (see propitiate, -tory2); (adj.) < Late Latin propitiātōrius (see -tory1)
Related formspro·pi·ti·a·to·ri·ly, adverbun·pro·pi·ti·a·to·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for propitiatory

Historical Examples of propitiatory

  • You see I have not forgotten the custom to bring some propitiatory sacrifice.

    The Elm Tree Tales

    F. Irene Burge Smith

  • Like many a man before him and after, Smith casts about for a propitiatory wonder.

  • "I bought a book," he said, handing her the propitiatory volume.

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

  • They are used by the Nambūtiri in propitiatory ceremonies to that god.

  • He spoke in his most propitiatory tones, but the committee was still stirred.

    The Candidate

    Joseph Alexander Altsheler

British Dictionary definitions for propitiatory



designed or intended to propitiate; conciliatory; expiatory


the mercy seat
Derived Formspropitiatorily, 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

Word Origin and History for propitiatory

c.1300 (n.) "the mercy seat," from Late Latin propitiatorium (translating Greek hilasterion in Bible); noun use of neuter singular of propitiatorius "atoning, reconciling," from propitiatus, past participle of propitiare (see propitiation). As an adjective in English from 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper