tr.v. pac·i·fied, pac·i·fy·ing, pac·i·fies
a. To ease the anger or agitation of (a person or the mind, for example).
b. To calm or soothe (a feeling, such as anger).
a. To end war, fighting, or violence in (a region or country), especially by military force.
b. To subdue or quell (an insurrection or conflict, for example).
c. To cause (a group) to end a rebellion or other violent action.
[Middle English pacifien, from Old French pacifier, from Latin pācificāre : pāx, pāc-, peace; see pag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + -ficāre, -fy.]
Synonyms: pacify, mollify, conciliate, appease, placate
These verbs refer to allaying another's anger, discontent, or agitation. To pacify is to ease the concerns of or restore calm to: "The explanation ... was merely an invention framed to pacify his guests" (Charlotte Brontë).
Mollify stresses the soothing of hostile feelings: The therapist mollified the angry teenager by speaking gently. Conciliate implies winning over, often by reasoning and with mutual concessions: "He recognized the need to conciliate his political opponents" (Robert W. Johannsen).
Appease and placate suggest satisfying claims or demands or tempering antagonism, often by granting concessions: I appeased my friend's anger with a compliment. A sincere apology placated the indignant customer.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.