Definition of propitiate in English:



  • Win or regain the favor of (a god, spirit, or person) by doing something that pleases them.

    ‘the pagans thought it was important to propitiate the gods with sacrifices’
    • ‘The Samhitas are hymns addressed to gods representing the forces of nature, followed by rites and sacrifices to propitiate those gods.’
    • ‘Perhaps he offers this volume to propitiate the gods he has deposed.’
    • ‘Stravinsky then turned to a pagan rite of a girl dancing herself to death before the elders in order to propitiate the god of spring.’
    • ‘Because women are most often in charge of medicinal herbs, they are responsible for propitiating the spirits of medicine on special altars.’
    • ‘Since these people used tobacco to propitiate their deities, the herb itself was one of the instruments of godless, false religions.’
    • ‘All that needed to be done to propitiate God's wrath and save his people from their sins had been accomplished.’
    • ‘How can shepherds dare to cross a high pass without first propitiating the appropriate goddess?’
    • ‘Plotinus and Porphyry felt reserve towards participation in sacrifices to propitiate the spirits.’
    • ‘Each village has its own shaman to propitiate the spirits that cause illness and accidents, and a priest to perform the village ceremony for the ancestor spirits.’
    • ‘Rituals associated with ploughing and planting of rice during monsoon and then again later at the end of monsoon were occasions to propitiate the gods for a bountiful harvest.’
    • ‘Unchanging principles were involved - an animal without blemish died in the place of the human sinner to propitiate God's wrath against sin and free the transgressor from guilt and punishment.’
    • ‘She is the patron of learning, and propitiating her is important for students.’
    • ‘This being occult worship, they propitiate ghosts as part of their ritual.’
    • ‘Indigenous peoples across the Americas benefited from tobacco in healing practices and rituals designed to propitiate the gods who controlled the movement of game or the success of a year's crop.’
    • ‘The haunting became so intense that in 1999 Buddhist monks were invited to the museum to offer foods to propitiate the restless souls of the victims who had been murdered there.’
    • ‘I think that's a fair enough position to take - certainly there are quite a few instances of ‘fierce’ goddesses being propitiated in order to keep them ‘sweet’ as it were.’
    • ‘The death of Christ propitiates God, and the word ‘propitiation’ contains the thought of averting the wrath of God.’
    • ‘Unmarried girls fast the whole day propitiating Lord Siva for granting them an ideal husband.’
    • ‘I could propitiate a particular deity who is associated with books (for example Thoth, or Ganesha).’
    • ‘Spirit mediums and their adherents built ‘spirit huts’ near trees that were necessary to propitiate malevolent spirits.’
    appease, placate, mollify, pacify, make peace with, conciliate, make amends to, soothe, calm, humour, win over, satisfy
    pour oil on troubled waters
    square someone off
    View synonyms


Late Middle English (as propitiation): from Latin propitiat- made favorable from the verb propitiare, from propitius favorable, gracious (see propitious).