Definitions

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

  • n. A remedy for all diseases, evils, or difficulties; a cure-all.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A remedy believed to cure all disease and prolong life that was originally sought by alchemists; a cure-all.
  • n. Something that will solve all problems.
  • n. A particular plant believed to provide a cure-all.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A remedy for all diseases; a universal medicine; a cure-all; catholicon; hence, a relief or solace for affliction.
  • n. The herb allheal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A remedy for all diseases or evils; a universal, remedy or medicine; a catholicon.
  • n. An herb or root believed to possess extraordinary healing properties, probably ginseng.

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

  • n. hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases; once sought by the alchemists
  • n. (Greek mythology) the goddess of healing; daughter of Aesculapius and sister of Hygeia

Etymologies

Latin panacēa, from Greek panakeia, from panakēs, all-healing : pan-, pan- + akos, cure.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin panacēa, from Ancient Greek πανάκεια (panakeia), from πανακής (panakēs, "all-healing"), from πᾶν (pan, "all") (equivalent to English pan-) + ἄκος (akos, "cure"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Panax, the genus name, comes from the Latin word panacea, meaning “cure-all,” and indeed, the claims for ginseng, of which scientists have historically been skeptical, imply a near-miraculous ability to address a wide variety of problems.

    The Best Alternative Medicine

  • But education, which we speak of as a panacea for all ills, only deals with what it finds, and does not, as we ought to claim, rub down bad points and accentuate good, and it is this, that perhaps more than anything else has made me a Determinist, that the very capacity for change and improvement is so native to some characters, and so utterly lacking to others.

    Memoirs of Arthur Hamilton B A Of Trinity College Cambridge

  • Printing money may sound attractive to the desperate, but it is at best a short-term panacea, which solves nothing in the long run, and creates its own set of complications and economic distortions.

    Sheldon Filger: European Central Bank And The Sovereign Debt Crisis

  • Bush and Kristol's "troop surge" panacea is most likely totally wrong, but how Bush went about it shows that he privileges electoral necessity over military necessity.

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • Ethanol of course is often described as a panacea but it comes with problems of its own.

    CNN Transcript Jun 19, 2006

  • "Last week's bond buying by the ECB was a short-term panacea but it does not resolve the underlying problems," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

    Eurozone under pressure to aid euro with more cash - Yahoo! Finance

  • There is no short or long term panacea for the rescue squad.

    Fort Mill Times: News

  • Given that there is no short-term panacea for long-term decline, I'm not sure that it can do other than what it already is doing.

    CNET News.com

  • Demolishing further ecologies for the short-term panacea it offers to our (global?) civilisation seems foolish to me: eventually the chickens will come home to roost.

    New Scientist - Earth

  • Even when the government gets around to what it sees as its fix, its panacea, which is just legislation, it does not seem to get that its legislation alone will not solve the problems we have with organized crime, drug abuse and the drug culture and drug crime industry in this community …

    Don’t Do Mandatory Drug Sentences : Law is Cool

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