Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Tending or serving to palliate.
  • adj. Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure.
  • n. One that palliates, especially a palliative drug or medicine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Minimising the progression of a disease and relieving undesirable symptoms for as long as possible, rather than attempting to cure the (usually incurable) disease.
  • n. Something that palliates, particularly a palliative medicine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Serving to palliate; serving to extenuate, mitigate, or alleviate.
  • n. That which palliates; a palliative agent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Palliating; extenuating; serving to extenuate by excuses or favorable representation.
  • Mitigating or alleviating, as pain or disease.
  • n. That which extenuates: as, a palliative of guilt.
  • n. That which mitigates, alleviates, or abates, as the violence of pain, disease, or other evil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. remedy that alleviates pain without curing
  • adj. moderating pain or sorrow by making it easier to bear

Etymologies

From New Latin *palliativus, from Medieval Latin palliare ("to cloak"), from Latin pallium ("a cloak"). (Wiktionary)

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