Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Reconcile

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

What It Means

Reconcile has several meanings that have to do with settling or resolving things, such as differences, contradictions, and conflicts. It is also used to mean “to check a financial account against another for accuracy” and “to cause someone to accept something unpleasant.”

// Historians have never been able to reconcile the two eyewitness accounts of the battle.

// The estranged cousins eventually reconciled when they realized that neither could remember why they were fighting in the first place.

// I’ve finally reconciled myself to no longer driving a car with manual transmission.

RECONCILE in Context

“Despite their long period of estrangement, [Graham] Nash and [David] Crosby had recently been reconciling their relationship. Nash spoke fondly of Crosby’s music, emphasizing that the music they created together rose above their personal conflicts. ‘I’m very pleased that David and I were getting closer towards the end,’ Nash said in the podcast. ‘He had a good life. I mean, what incredible music he made. He was a fantastic storyteller. I loved him dearly.’” — Aidin Vaziri,, 10 Apr. 2023

Did You Know?

When faced with a kerfuffledustup, or other flavor of fracas, a conciliatory gesture or tone of voice—one intended to gain goodwill or to reduce hostility—can go a long way toward reconciling the squabbling parties. This makes not only common but etymological sense—both conciliatory and reconcile trace back to the Latin verb conciliare, meaning “to assemble, unite, or win over.” Reconcile can also be used when it’s facts, ideas, etc. that are being brought into agreement, and when financial accounts are checked against one another for accuracy. Reconcile is not all feel-good vibes, however. If you reconcile yourself to something unpleasant you come to accept it, as in “Even lexicographers must reconcile themselves to never knowing all the words.”

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply