verb soft·en \ˈs-fən\

: to become less hard or firm or to make (something) less hard or firm

: to make (something) less dry or rough

: to make (something) less severe, harsh, extreme, etc.

soft·enedsoft·en·ing \ˈs-fə-niŋ, ˈsf-niŋ\

Full Definition of SOFTEN

transitive verb
:  to make soft or softer
a :  to weaken the military resistance or the morale of especially by harassment (as preliminary bombardment) —often used with up
b :  to impair the strength or resistance of —often used with up <soften up a sales prospect>
intransitive verb
:  to become soft or softer <her face softened>
soft·en·er \ˈs-fə-nər, ˈsf-nər\ noun

Examples of SOFTEN

  1. The butter will soften if left on the counter overnight.
  2. The recipe called for one stick of butter, softened.
  3. The oil is used to soften and preserve the leather.
  4. The lotion softens dry skin.
  5. The company has softened its stance on dating in the workplace.
  6. Her face softened when he entered the room.
  7. His criticism of the president has softened in the past year.
  8. The grass softened my fall.

First Known Use of SOFTEN

14th century

Rhymes with SOFTEN

SOFTENED Defined for Kids


verb soft·en \ˈs-fən\

Definition of SOFTEN for Kids

:  to make or become soft or less firm <Let the wax soften in the sun.>
:  to make or become gentler or less harsh <The elder's stern expression softened. — Brian Jacques, Redwall>
soft·en·er noun


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