Definition of palliate in English:



  • 1with object Make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe without removing the cause.

    ‘treatment works by palliating symptoms’
    no object ‘pharmaceutical drugs palliate, they do not cure’
    • ‘In a disease that we may be palliating, but not curing, this is a significant cost.’
    • ‘Daudet consumed huge amounts of morphine, chloral and bromide in an attempt to palliate his excruciating pains.’
    • ‘There were 213 patients after exclusion of the 58 patients who were palliated, followed up for less than 24 months or lost to follow-up.’
    • ‘The drink stimulates the appetite and aids digestions, and the food palliates the ethylic effects of the drink.’
    • ‘It's an absolutely integral part, of treating patients whether that be with the intention of curing a patient, or with the intention of palliating or improving symptoms.’
    • ‘Symptoms such as hemoptysis, dyspnea, and chest pain often can be effectively palliated by external beam radiation.’
    • ‘Surgery and chemotherapy may palliate pain caused by tumor growth and encroachment on normal structures.’
    • ‘External compression of airways can be palliated with stent insertion.’
    • ‘Jaundice is palliated by stenting the stricture at the lower end of the common bile duct; this has superseded operative palliation.’
    • ‘No such consideration palliated the treatment they received in the north.’
    • ‘Acupuncture controls chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, and can palliate chronic pain.’
    • ‘But it wasn't until 1983 that the first successful operation to palliate the anomalies was reported by Norwood.’
    • ‘Tracheobronchial stents effectively restore airway patency in selected patients with large airway obstruction and palliate symptoms of fistulae in a relatively noninvasive fashion.’
    • ‘Lung transplantation has become an acceptable therapy to palliate patients with a variety of end-stage lung diseases.’
    • ‘Conversely, the bulk of standard treatments for varicose veins and hemorrhoids are geared toward removing the problem or palliating the disease.’
    • ‘Where recurrent disease is responsible for blockage of lymphatic collaterals, chemotherapy may be tried to palliate the symptomatology.’
    • ‘In those pre- and early historical times people frequented such places often in the belief that imbibing the fresh water from a rocky pool, a woodland grove or a hollow in a grassland clearing cured or palliated certain illnesses.’
    alleviate, ease, relieve, soothe, take the edge off, assuage, allay, dull, soften, lessen, moderate, temper, mitigate, diminish, decrease, blunt, deaden, abate
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  • 2Disguise the seriousness of (an offence)

    ‘there is no way to excuse or palliate his dirty deed’
    • ‘A fire-breathing New York City minister denounced the absence of God in the preamble as ‘an omission which no pretext whatever can palliate.’’
    • ‘De Guingand's role as a foil to Montgomery was a vital one and his diplomacy and tact helped palliate Montgomery's abrasiveness.’
    • ‘People's generosity and the ideology of reciprocity palliated the experiences of poverty, hard times, and corn shortages.’
    • ‘There is, however, one palliating feature for the young ladies about these gatherings, and that is that they are given plenty of kedrouvie nuts, in order to keep their mouths busy.’
    • ‘The need to deny, palliate, or make up for the thinness of New World culture and to mount counter-claims of glory for New World scenery long shaped how America was viewed and portrayed.’
    • ‘He was never one to palliate or eulogise, he was never a regulation aesthete.’
    • ‘These women were able to palliate ethnic and class differences by integrating recent European immigrants and native-born women into a single community with a coherent spirituality.’
    • ‘The creeping fractures in both have been palliated by results in recent games, but the coming ones will determine whether those signs of life are indicative of temporary remission or permanent recovery.’
    • ‘In the end, however, he palliates the differences, leaving the possibility for some way to harmonize the two.’
    disguise, hide, gloss over, conceal, whitewash, cover, cover up, camouflage, cloak, mask, paper over, varnish over
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    1. 2.1 Allay or moderate (fears or suspicions)
      ‘this eliminated, or at least palliated, suspicions aroused by German unity’
      • ‘Far from being arbitrary, it seems to me that the Secretary of State has done all that he could be expected to do to palliate the deprivation of liberty of the many applicants for asylum here.’
      • ‘Selecting a period of bad weather to palliate allied air superiority, the Germans attacked on 16 December 1944.’
      • ‘Frustration was palliated by a perception that the region was far more complex than the uninitiated suspected, and that to understand its dynamics one had to be an expert.’
      • ‘The Democrats will by and large continue to cater to those interests and palliate the rest of us with rhetoric.’
      • ‘There are those tales too of a somewhat grimmer nature concerning the use of humour to palliate the horrors of war.’
      • ‘It is not material to consider whether any steps or any further steps could have been taken to avoid or palliate the risk that the blood would be infected.’
      • ‘His touches are average dark ambient and he palliates what could otherwise be the sound of dread and belligerence.’
      • ‘Then he reassured himself: women tended to be palliated by his abundant affection when his prowess faltered, rather frequently these days.’
      • ‘With laughs he palliates the sense of doom that is the heritage of the Irish Catholic.’
      • ‘With every growing line, I felt my confidence growing… It seemed that I could palliate my secret, almost erase the penury I had once lived in.’
      • ‘People the world over, who are interested in non-violence, should unite to establish a non-violent defence to palliate the misery of people in different parts of the country, says Dr. Alberto.’
      • ‘It implies a change or a course of events that can be reversed, or whose consequences can at least be palliated or relativized.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin palliat- ‘cloaked’, from the verb palliare, from pallium ‘cloak’.