Palliate means to ease the severity of something, to make something less painful or unpleasant without curing it completely. It is often used to describe the act of relieving or mitigating symptoms of a disease or illness, rather than treating the underlying cause.


US English

UK English

Part of speech



Alleviate, soothe, relieve, mitigate, lessen, ease, appease, mollify, allay, assuage


Aggravate, exacerbate, intensify, worsen

Example sentences

  • The doctor prescribed medication to palliate the patient’s pain.
  • The company tried to palliate the negative impact of the layoffs by offering severance packages and career counseling.
  • The government’s relief efforts aimed to palliate the effects of the natural disaster.
  • The therapist used techniques to palliate the client’s anxiety and depression symptoms.


Palliate is a term that is often used in the context of medical care and treatment. It refers to the act of easing the symptoms or effects of a disease or illness without necessarily curing it. This can involve providing medication, therapy, or other forms of treatment to alleviate pain, discomfort, or other negative symptoms. The word is derived from the Latin word “palliatus,” which means “clothed in a mantle” or “covered up,” suggesting the idea of covering up or concealing the symptoms of an illness.

The prefix “pal-” in palliate comes from the Latin word “pallium,” which means cloak or mantle. This prefix suggests the idea of covering up or disguising something. The suffix “-ate” is used to indicate the act of making or causing something to be a certain way. Thus, palliate refers to the act of covering up or disguising the symptoms of an illness, or making them less severe.

Palliate can also be used in a broader sense to refer to the act of easing or mitigating any negative situation or circumstance. For example, it can be used to describe the act of lessening the impact of a financial loss or a natural disaster. It can also be used in the context of conflict resolution, where it may involve finding ways to ease tensions or de-escalate a potentially volatile situation.

Overall, palliate is a term that connotes the sense of easing or lessening the severity of something. Its various forms and variations can help to provide a more nuanced understanding of its meaning and usage in different contexts