Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Conciliate

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

What It Means

Conciliate is a formal word applied in situations in which anger or disagreement presents a need for resolution. It can mean “to make compatible; to reconcile,” “to appease or win over,” or “to become or try to become friendly or agreeable.” 

// The company’s attempts to conciliate the workers without meeting their core demands has not been a successful strategy.


“Oklahoma City established a human rights commission Tuesday for the first time in more than a quarter century. The new nine-member commission … will be charged with investigating and addressing employment, housing and public accommodations discrimination complaints. … An investigation can either lead to dismissal of the complaint or an attempt by the commission to conciliate between the complainant and the accused party.” — Jana Hayes, The Oklahoman, 19 July 2022

Did You Know?

Now here’s a people pleaser. The immediate source of conciliate is a form of the Latin verb conciliare, meaning “to assemble, unite, win over,” and when conciliate was first used in the 16th century, the idea of winning over was key; it was used to mean “to gain something, such as goodwill or favor, by pleasing acts.” Today, conciliate is mostly used in contexts where appease or reconcile is a more common choice, as in “a refusal to conciliate the dictator,” and “efforts to conciliate the views of those on opposing sides.” Like the word council, conciliate ultimately traces back to the Latin word concilium, meaning “assembly, council.”

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