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When people are upset, angry, or in pain, to pacify them is to make them calm or peaceful.

Pacifying people makes them calmer, quieter, more peaceful, or temporarily satisfied, but it often fails to solve the underlying problem that caused their original pains, anger, complaints, etc.

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Part of speech:
Verb, usually the transitive kind: "we pacified them," "it pacifies the boss for now."

Other forms worth knowing:
pacified, pacifying, pacifyingly;

How to use it:
Often we talk about people, statements, offers, decisions, actions, or events that pacify other people or groups of people.

Who tends to be pacified? Cranky kids, crabby customers, frustrated fans, disappointed consumers, offended audiences, angry citizens, wronged parties, injured victims, oppressed minorities, enslaved populations, etc.

You can also pacify someone's mind, soul, heart, or spirit.

Sometimes we'll use the pattern "to pacify someone with something:" "They pacified the toddler with a flashy cartoon."

Or, "to pacify someone by doing something:" "They pacified the disgruntled employees by making a few minor changes in policy."

And, you can pacify bad moods, bad thoughts, and bad emotions, like anger, resentment, suspicion, and hostility. On a larger scale, you can pacify unrest, uprisings, rebellions, and other problems involving anger and resentment.

You can even get abstract and talk about people's attempts to pacify things like the forces of nature, such as winds or storms.

Play-Doh is the perfect toy. It's bright, it's squishy, it inspires creativity, and it pacifies toddlers on airplanes.

"'With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the C.I.A. should have undertaken,' she wrote. ... The letter won over Mr. Warner and a handful of other Democrats. But liberal senators, and Republicans like Mr. McCain who adamantly oppose the use of torture, were not pacified."

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