Choose the right word
pacify, appease, conciliate, mollify, placate, propitiate
You might try to pacify a crying baby, to appease a demanding boss, to mollify a friend whose feelings have been hurt, and to placate an angry crowd. While all of these verbs have something to do with quieting people who are upset, excited, or disturbed, each involves taking a slightly different approach. Pacify suggests soothing or calming ( the mother quietly sang a lullaby to pacify her child). Appease implies that you've given in to someone's demands or made concessions in order to please ( she said she would visit his mother just to appease him), while mollify stresses minimizing anger or hurt feelings by taking positive action ( her flattery failed to mollify him). Placate suggests changing a hostile or angry attitude to a friendly or favorable one, usually with a more complete or long-lasting effect than appease ( they were able to placate their enemies by offering to support them). You can propitiate a superior or someone who has the power to injure you by allaying or forestalling their anger ( they were able to propitiate the trustees by holding a dinner party in their honor). Conciliate implies the use of arbitration or compromise to settle a dispute or to win someone over ( the company made every effort to conciliate its angry competitor).