Come Together For 14 Agreeable Words About Peace The concept of peace is one of the most important, complex, and enduring. In 1981, the United Nations declared September 21 the International Day of Peace. The purpose of this day is to reflect on how we can all contribute to a more peaceful and just world. Peace has a variety of definitions, including “the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.” The word peace ultimately comes from the Latin pax, which means “peace.” This Latin word can be found in the expression pax vobiscum, meaning “peace be with you.” To help us understand peace even better, we have rounded up a number of terms that convey the different conceptions and aspects of peace. accord The word accord is a verb with various meanings including “to be in agreement or harmony; agree.” It is a somewhat more formal term used particularly to describe an agreement between parties. The word ultimately comes from the Latin accordāre, meaning roughly “toward the heart.” After long deliberations, we were able to accord our differences. armistice A formal way to acknowledge peace during wartime is with an armistice, a noun meaning “a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement of the warring parties; truce.” We all cheered when the news of the armistice agreement between the two nations was announced. Armistice Day, or Remembrance Sunday, is celebrated on November 11 (or the nearest Sunday) to commemorate the end of World War I. In the US, the day is known as Veterans Day. Read more about it here. equanimity A college-level term that expresses a personal form of peace is equanimity, a noun meaning “mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.” Despite the high-pressure situation, Emma always displayed great equanimity and calm. The word equanimity comes from Latin aequanimitās, meaning roughly “a state of being in an even spirit.” placidity Another sophisticated term for talking about peace or a peaceful situation is placidity, “a calm or peaceful quality.” Synonyms for placidity are tranquility or serenity. After his children left the house for the first day of school, Ivan was struck by the newfound placidity of the home. Ultimately, placidity comes from the same Latin root as the word please. A placid place is certainly pleasing! pastoral One of the more literary terms for describing peace is pastoral, an adjective meaning “having the simplicity, charm, serenity, or other characteristics generally attributed to rural areas.” I was eager to spend some time in the pastoral setting, taking in the rolling fields and cloudless sky. In English, pastor means “a minister or priest in charge of a church.” The word comes from the Latin pastor meaning “shepherd.” A pastoral setting is therefore particularly associated with the life and environment of shepherds. idyllic An evocative term for describing a peaceful setting is idyllic [ ahy-dil-ik ]. Idyllic means “suitable for or suggestive of an idyll; charmingly simple or rustic.” An idyll is a short poem form that describes a rustic, pastoral scene. The retirees lived an idyllic life on their hobby farm in the countryside. The Greek poet Theocritus is especially associated with idylls, and the style was adopted by other poets including Virgil and Tennyson. Would you describe any of these charming and beautiful English words as idyllic? bucolic A term closely related to pastoral is bucolic, an adjective literally meaning “of or relating to shepherds; pastoral.” However, it is used figuratively to mean “of, relating to, or suggesting an idyllic rural life.” Our farmhouse is located in a beautiful, if somewhat isolated, bucolic valley surrounded by mountains. The word bucolic ultimately comes from the Greek boukolikós meaning “rustic.” Arcadian Yet another term related to the peacefulness of rural life (are you sensing a theme yet?) is Arcadian, an adjective meaning “rural, rustic, or pastoral, especially suggesting simple, innocent contentment.” Arcadia was a “a mountainous region of ancient Greece, traditionally known for the contented pastoral innocence of its people.” The term later came to be associated with “any real or imaginary place offering peace and simplicity.” I thought that I would find an Arcadian existence out West, but instead I was just as busy as I had ever been. halcyon Another literary term for “peace” is halcyon [ hal-see-uhn ], meaning “calm; peaceful; tranquil.” The halcyon weather in the south of France makes it an attractive vacation destination. This meaning of halcyon comes from the ancient Greek legend of the halcyon, “a mythical bird, usually identified with the kingfisher, said to breed about the time of the winter solstice in a nest floating on the sea, and to have the power of charming winds and waves into calmness.” propitiation A particularly sophisticated term to describe an agreement for peace is propitiation, “the act of propitiating; conciliation.” Propitiate is a verb meaning “to make favorably inclined; appease; conciliate.” We sought propitiation with the people who had wronged us. The word propitiation is often used in a religious context to describe God’s forgiveness, Jesus’s sacrifice, or other absolvement of sin. Everyone agrees there are better alternatives than using the word lame. Learn more about them. paradisiacal Another fancy term for describing a peaceful environment is paradisiacal, or paradisaical, meaning “of, like, or befitting paradise.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Life on the small tropical island was paradisiacal. The word paradise itself ultimately comes from the Greek parádeisos meaning literally “pleasure-grounds.” sedate One of the more common terms for describing a state of peace is the adjective sedate, meaning “calm, quiet, or composed; undisturbed by passion or excitement.” It was a sedate meal, as neither one of them had the energy to talk after the long hike. The word should not be confused with the term sedition, meaning “incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.” Despite the closeness in spelling, the two words are near-antonyms. palmy A less-formal term for describing a peaceful environment is palmy, meaning “glorious, prosperous, or flourishing.” The word comes from, yes, the palm tree, whose leaves or branches were used as a symbol of victory or festive occasions. When the rains finally came, we enjoyed a palmy season with abundant harvest. A similar term to palmy is laurel, whose leaves were also used as a mark of distinction. tranquil A common, everyday term for describing a state of peace is tranquil [ trang-kwil ], an adjective meaning “free from commotion or tumult; peaceful; quiet; calm.” You may feel better after spending some time in the tranquil library, reading. A medical term related to tranquil is tranquilizer, “a drug that has a sedative or calming effect without inducing sleep.” That is certainly one way of achieving tranquility. Do you feel at ease after all of these peaceful terms? You can review them all at our word list here. Or, if you’re ready for something a bit more challenging, you can test your knowledge of these words with our quiz here. Do your vocab some good by learning these words to describe humanitarians.