- A solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.
“Snake oil salesmen offered a panacea to cure all illnesses, but they weren’t real doctors, and the products usually weren’t real medicine.”
“The neighbors have a wishful hope that the new traffic light on our street will be a panacea for the daily congestion.”
“There’s no such thing as a panacea for all of my problems, but taking a walk every day has helped me feel a lot better than I did a year ago.”
Greek, mid-16th century
Why this word?
Alchemists were early chemists who attempted to find a secret method to turn metal into gold. They were also on the hunt for the “elixir of life” — called a “panacea” — that was rumored to solve all illnesses. The answer to all of life’s ills sounds nice, but no such cure-all exists. Today, “panacea” is usually used critically against claims that a suggested solution will fix all of the current issues.