expiatory vs propitiatory what difference

what is difference between expiatory and propitiatory



expiatory (comparative more expiatory, superlative most expiatory)

  1. Of or pertaining to expiation.
    • 18 January 1549, Hugh Latimer, Sermon of the Plough
      They would have us saved by a daily oblation propitiatory; by a sacrifice expiatory, or remissory.




From the Latin propitiātōrius (atoning; reconciling, propitiating).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /pɹəʊˈpɪʃɪətəɹɪ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /pɹəˈpɪʃi.əˌtɔɹi/, /pɹoʊˈpɪʃi.əˌtɔɹi/


propitiatory (comparative more propitiatory, superlative most propitiatory)

  1. Intended to propitiate, reconcile, expiate or appease; conciliatory.
    • 1831, Timothy Dwight, Theology Explained and Defended, in a Series of Sermons, page 493,
      Hecatombs were early substituted for single victims; and, to render the worship still more propitiatory, these were soon exchanged for human sacrifices.
    • 1838, Tracts for the Times, Volume 4: 1836-7, page 326,
      So that no words can be more propitiatory; and it is to be observed, that, while they are spoken, the Minister is holding the consecrated elements in his hand, tendering them at the same time to God, and to the communicants.
    • 1848, Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, Volumes 1-20, 1848, page 224,
      “I beg your pardon, Sir,” said Mr. Carker, riding up, with his most propitiatory smile. “I hope you are not hurt?”
    • 1978, Philippa Foot, Nietzsche: The Revaluation of Values, in Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, University of California Press, 1981, page 82,
      The weak branded those they feared evil, and praised the ‘propitiatory’ qualities natural to men like themselves who were incapable of aggression. [] Those who cultivate humility and the other propitiatory virtues to cloak their weakness nourish an envious resentment against those stronger than themselves.


  • OED (2nd ed., 1989), “propitiatory, n. and a.
  • OED (3rd ed., June 2007), “propitiatory, n. and adj.

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