ca·​ress | \ kə-ˈres How to pronounce caress (audio) \
caressed; caressing; caresses

Definition of caress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to treat with tokens of fondness, affection, or kindness : cherish the regiment was fed and caressed at station after station— Stephen Crane
2a : to touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner She caressed the baby's cheek.
b : to touch or affect as if with a caress echoes that caress the ear



Definition of caress (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or expression of kindness or affection : endearment when the gifts and caresses of mankind shall recompense the toils of study— Samuel Johnson
2a : a light stroking, rubbing, or patting a gentle caress of her shoulder
b : kiss She gave him a parting caress.

Other Words from caress


caresser noun
caressingly \ kə-​ˈre-​siŋ-​lē How to pronounce caress (audio) \ adverb


caressive \ kə-​ˈre-​siv How to pronounce caress (audio) \ adjective
caressively adverb

Synonyms for caress

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of caress in a Sentence

Verb She caressed the baby's cheek. A warm breeze caressed her face. Noun She gave the baby's cheek a gentle caress.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Her pieces, like her glove bralettes, literally caress you. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 1 Mar. 2022 For me, the camera must tell the story for the characters; love them, caress them without the viewer perceiving other stylistic details. Emilio Mayorga, Variety, 15 Feb. 2022 Two fingers caress the unruly neck hair of the skinned goat whose elongated snout sports a bemused expression. William A. Wallace, WSJ, 28 Jan. 2022 During his final moments, Maya’s father reaches to caress her face, leaving a bloody handprint on her cheek before dying in her presence. Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2021 In the video, Mans and a lover dance with and caress one another tenderly in a Brooklyn brownstone. Keyaira Boone, Essence, 17 Sep. 2021 Jonathan Ledbetter uses both of his hands to slowly caress the double-AA-battery-sized scars that bookend his right knee. Omar Kelly,, 18 July 2021 The bubbles caress your palate in a soft embrace, like an old friend’s greeting after a long separation. Washington Post, 16 July 2021 And then the 6-foot-2, 220-pound officer got physical with her, touching her lower back, chest bumping her, and trying to caress and rub her shoulders. Marc Freeman,, 13 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sometimes a text or video call is not enough, and people in Salvato’s situation often long for a way to send a loving caress or comforting squeeze from afar. Richard Sima, Scientific American, 26 Apr. 2022 Gender was a major preoccupation this season, as was connection, be that through social interaction or the caress of fabric on skin. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 22 Mar. 2022 But these were some of the area’s best choral professionals, and Dettra coaxed richly expressive singing that could raise the roof but also caress and comfort the ear. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 4 Oct. 2021 The soothing elixir of rose water and rose absolute caress skin to calm redness while coconut blossom nectar rejuvenates. Essence, 20 Sep. 2021 In it, two trans women alternately caress and shove each other, cooing sweet nothings one moment and cursing the next. New York Times, 2 Sep. 2021 Myles Brady-Davis whispered, lifting Zayn in the air before pulling her into a caress, punctuating it all with a kiss on the cheek. Grace Hauck, USA Today, 21 May 2021 There are the beautiful, little human touches, like the two hands touching with a gentle caress or a wonderful kiss. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 16 Apr. 2021 Other major championships have felt his caress and withered. Eamon Lynch, Detroit Free Press, 10 Jan. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of caress


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for caress


French caresser, from Italian carezzare, from carezza — see caress entry 2


French caresse, from Italian carezza, from caro dear, from Latin carus — more at charity

Learn More About caress

Dictionary Entries Near caress

care package



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Statistics for caress

Cite this Entry

“Caress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for caress


ca·​ress | \ kə-ˈres How to pronounce caress (audio) \

Kids Definition of caress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tender or loving touch or hug


caressed; caressing

Kids Definition of caress (Entry 2 of 2)

: to touch in a tender or loving way

More from Merriam-Webster on caress

Nglish: Translation of caress for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caress for Arabic Speakers


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