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Also, which word is suitable in a context of hunger?

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    What did the dictionary say which confused you? – tchrist Aug 4 '15 at 13:27
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    On the difference, what have dictionaries told you? As to what synonym to use with hunger, try assuage. – Brian Donovan Aug 4 '15 at 13:28
  • The Google dictionary actually lists "Pacify" as a synonym for "Mollify". – Soham Ghosh Aug 4 '15 at 15:19
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    I guess satiate is also a good word to use with hunger. – Soham Ghosh Aug 4 '15 at 15:21
  • You have tagged this question with 'meaning-in-context' but have given us no context with which to work. – Chenmunka Aug 5 '15 at 11:25
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Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003), which verges on being a general reference, though its online incarnation is Merriam-Webster Online, has this comment on pacify and mollify:

PACIFY, APPEASE, PLACATE, MOLLIFY, PROPITIATE, CONCILIATE mean to ease the anger or disturbance of. PACIFY suggests a soothing or calming [example omitted]. ... MOLLIFY implies soothing hurt feelings or rising anger [example omitted].

James Fernald, Funk & Wagnalls Standard Handbook of Synonyms, Antonyms & Prepositions (1947) classifies both words as members of the allay family:

Pacify and appease signify to bring peace; to mollify is to soften; ...

From these two treatments, I would infer that pacify may apply to a broader range of objects (a horse, for example) than mollify does, mollify being specific to people.


As for using either term with hunger, I agree with JeffSahol's answer that neither pacify nor mollify is particularly apt, though pacify could work in a metaphorical sense. A very simple alternative that does work is lessen.

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"Mollify" carries more of a connotation of appeasement (as opposed to actual easing of the source of conflict) than "pacify".

Neither is a great choice with hunger, though that's more my opinion...I'd say "quell" if you're trying to indicate that hunger is being handled by eating a substantial meal, or "appease" if it's just a candy bar or some kind of snack to temporarily satisfy hunger.

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Mollify - to mitigate or reduce

Pacify - to restore to peace or order, esp by the threat or use of force

  • peace- to be or become silent or still

Between the two mollify would actually lessen the, in this case, hunger while pacify would simply cause it to be less noticeable by dampening the signals with regard to hunger without actually reducing the cause. Eating mollifies hunger, chewing gum or drinking water pacifies it.

http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/pacify http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/mollify http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/peace

  • Can you cite any sources to back this up? – Soham Ghosh Aug 4 '15 at 15:23

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