When you palliate something, you try to make something less bad: “City leaders tried to palliate effects of the trash haulers' strike by distributing extra large garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.”

Palliate is the word to use when you want to make something feel or seem better. Palliate doesn’t mean “cure” or “solve.” Instead, something that palliates relieves the symptoms or consequences of something, without addressing the underlying cause. Your dentist might give you pain-killing drugs to palliate the discomfort caused by an impacted molar, but that molar is still there, waiting to cause more trouble.

Definitions of palliate

v lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of

extenuate, mitigate
Type of:
apologise, apologize, excuse, justify, rationalise, rationalize
defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning

v provide physical relief, as from pain

alleviate, assuage, relieve
cause to feel better
comfort, ease
lessen pain or discomfort; alleviate
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.