Definition of pacify in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Quell the anger, agitation, or excitement of.

    ‘he had to pacify angry spectators’
    • ‘‘Hey calm down’ I tried to pacify him, but before I knew it, I was up against the door, held at the collar.’
    • ‘It began as a way of pacifying her when she was in a rare grumpy mood, and now it's the reason we go to Target.’
    • ‘After having pacified the angry Lotus, Wang Lung finds a way to avoid sending Pear Blossom to the cousin.’
    • ‘Even Mr Deshpande's apology failed to pacify him.’
    • ‘In the film starring Paul Hogan, the hero uses his skills to pacify an angry water buffalo standing in the way of his vehicle.’
    • ‘He also pacified the agitated councillors by suggesting the formation of a core group in the council to take policy decisions.’
    • ‘A plumber was stabbed in the chest and died within minutes when he tried to pacify an angry man armed with a knife outside a public house, a jury was told.’
    • ‘Instead, the company has focused on ineffective and inconvenient security procedures for the sole purpose of pacifying the traveling public.’
    • ‘The traffic policeman, who arrives late, tries to pacify everyone.’
    • ‘It offered prize money and prestige, and largely succeeded in pacifying the warriors.’
    • ‘He sat among the children and pacified one agitated four year old who was taken aback by all the attention he was receiving.’
    • ‘A humble man, he decided to open Lakay to street children after wondering why he always gave them a few cents to pacify them instead of listening to their needs.’
    • ‘The Wakatipu giant was pacified, went back to sleep, and has been quiet ever since.’
    • ‘Would you ever pacify angry clients by giving them extra hours at no charge?’
    • ‘I managed to pacify her, eventually, with the aid of a little Carnation milk, and the starling got bored with being a telephone and went back to teasing the yellowhammer by imitating his song.’
    • ‘Apart from pacifying the residents with his assurances the mayor should also consider initiating some survival strategies like going into partnership with big cities of the world.’
    • ‘And there are TV screens everywhere, pumping out a constant stream of ramped up news and political rhetoric, at once nerving up and pacifying the populace.’
    • ‘In an attempt to pacify the Irish, the British establishment made a number of concessions aimed at enabling tenant farmers to become the owners of the land they so diligently tilled.’
    • ‘And now there are also angry shareholders to pacify.’
    • ‘His early moves were a striking portent of the populist spending spree that was to follow, spiced here and there with well-directed salutes aimed at pacifying the extremes of the political spectrum.’
    placate, appease, calm, calm down, conciliate, propitiate, assuage, mollify, soothe, tranquillize, content, still, quieten, silence, relax, compose
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Bring peace to (a country or warring factions), especially by the use or threatened use of military force.
      ‘the general pacified northern Italy’
      • ‘The Spanish increased their efforts to pacify northern Morocco, and a new road between Fez and Rabat aided French penetration.’
      • ‘We need to pacify the population and win them to our side before any serious nation-building can take place.’
      • ‘‘It took nearly 80 years to pacify Northern Ireland, where there are only two factions,’ he wrote.’
      • ‘The government continues to argue that it can fight and defeat the rebels, pacifying the entire country in the process.’
      • ‘To return to the military metaphor, not only do officers have to build high walls against outsiders, they must also pacify a broad swath of territory beyond the fortress.’
      • ‘To reduce these divisions, the strategy of creating more states was developed to pacify differences and demonstrate respect for the many minority groups in the country.’
      • ‘The country is pacified now, or nearly so, we're almost there, don't you understand?’
      • ‘The idea of occupying and pacifying a country by airpower alone, or with the air force as the primary force employed, is especially attractive to airmen.’
      • ‘Caesar campaigns against the Belgii; all northern Gaul apparently pacified.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that the kind of personnel required to invade a country and the kind needed to pacify a nation are two different breeds.’
      • ‘Linn's book is a detailed operational history of military action to pacify and restore order to the islands.’
      • ‘We have no local support and half the force we need to pacify the country.’
      • ‘Starting around 575 BCE, as a way of pacifying the northern kingdom, Tiglathpileser takes over the lands belonging to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and exiles them.’
      • ‘The government must realize that brute force alone will not pacify the restive region.’
      • ‘The way he pacified the country was to marry into different families and thereby gain the loyalty of those tribes.’
      • ‘As a result, the authorities needed three more years to pacify the country.’
      • ‘With the exception of a few hot spots, the California-sized country is pacified and moving in the right direction.’
      • ‘As each new sector of land was conquered and pacified, so new threats (some real, many imagined) loomed in the territories beyond.’


Late 15th century (earlier ( late Middle English) as pacification): from Old French pacefier, from Latin pacificare, based on pax, pac- ‘peace’.