Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Panacea

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is panacea. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

A panacea is something that is regarded as a cure-all—that is, a remedy for all ills or difficulties.

// The new program should help with the city’s housing crisis, but it’s no panacea.

PANACEA in Context

“Eventually, EV may reduce global consumption of fossil fuels, but they are not a panaceathat will replace fossil fuels.” — Michael Mainelli, letter in The Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, 12 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

English speakers took panaceafrom Latin, but as is the case with many Latin borrowings, the word ultimately traces its roots to Greek: panakēs, meaning “all-healing,” comes from pan-, meaning “all,” and akos, meaning “remedy.” The Latin designation Panacea or Panaces was in past centuries awarded to various plants, among them the herb today known as Prunella vulgaris, whose common name is self-heal. In current use, panacea is most often used to decry a remedy that falls far short of what some claim it can do.

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