coax

verb
\ ˈkōks \
coaxed; coaxing; coaxes

Definition of coax

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to influence or gently urge by caressing or flattering : wheedle coaxed him into going
2 : to draw, gain, or persuade by means of gentle urging or flattery unable to coax an answer out of him coaxing consumers to buy new cars
3 : to manipulate with great perseverance and usually with considerable effort toward a desired state or activity coax a fire to burn is optimistic that stem cells can be coaxed into growing into replacement tissue for failing organs
4 obsolete : fondle, pet

coax

noun
co·​ax | \ ˈkō-ˌaks \

Definition of coax (Entry 2 of 2)

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Choose the Right Synonym for coax

Verb

cajole, coax, soft-soap, blandish, wheedle mean to influence or persuade by pleasing words or actions. cajole suggests the deliberate use of flattery to persuade in the face of reluctance or reasonable objections. cajoled him into cheating on the final exam coax implies gentle and persistent words or actions employed to produce a desired effect. coaxed the cat out of the tree soft-soap refers to using smooth and somewhat insincere talk usually for personal gain. politicians soft-soaping eligible voters blandish implies a more open desire to win a person over by effusive praise and affectionate actions. legislators blandished with promises of support wheedle suggests more strongly than cajole the use of seductive appeal or artful words in persuading. hucksters wheedling her life's savings out of her

Did You Know?

Verb

In the days of yore, if you made a cokes of someone, you made a fool of them. Cokes-a now-obsolete word for "fool"-is believed to be the source of our verb coax, which was first used in the 16th century (with the spelling cokes) to mean "to make a fool of." Soon, the verb also took on the kinder meaning of "to make a pet of." As might be expected, the act of cokesing was sometimes done for personal gain. By the 17th century, the word was being used in today's senses that refer to influencing or persuading people by kind acts or words. By the early 19th century, the spelling cokes had fallen out of use, along with the meanings "to make a fool of" and "to make a pet of."

Examples of coax in a Sentence

Verb

It took almost an hour to coax the cat down from the tree. She tried to coax a raise from her boss. He was unable to coax an answer out of her. He coaxed the fire to burn by blowing on it. The plant is difficult to coax into bloom.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The man then barricaded himself in the Subway kitchen, and a SWAT team and hostage negotiators tried to coax the man out for about two hours. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Armed man arrested after barricading himself in White Center Subway," 5 Feb. 2019 Researchers manipulating matter at the smallest scales, therefore, are trying to coax nature into behaving in ways that strain at the limits imposed by fundamental physics. Neil Savage, Scientific American, "What Are the Limits of Manipulating Nature?," 8 May 2018 As in the past, city crisis teams will fan out to parts of the Mission east of South Van Ness Avenue and roughly between 14th and 20th streets, to try to coax an estimated 100 or so tent dwellers into San Francisco’s network of shelter programs. Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF mayor vows to clear out homeless tent camps," 20 Apr. 2018 Samuels also tried to coax Chance to reveal details about working on new music with Kanye West but Chance remained tight-lipped on that one. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "Chance the Rapper Says He Recorded 'Amazing' Music With Childish Gambino," 6 Mar. 2018 Semenuk pulled over and began to slow down traffic while trying to coax the dog to come to him. Cathy Locke, sacbee, "Dog trapped under vehicle on I-80 rescued by Placer deputy and CHP officer," 18 Jan. 2018 Pollard said his father and a sergeant got the men safely to shore, having to coax some soldiers who were frozen with fear at the prospect of jumping into the 40-feet-deep (12-meter-deep) water. Adam Beam, The Seattle Times, "100-year-old WWII veteran awarded French Legion of Honor," 19 Nov. 2018 Administration officials recently have traveled to 32 countries seeking to coax compliance. Ian Talley, WSJ, "After Iran Sanctions, U.S. Faces a Huge Task: Compliance," 6 Nov. 2018 Memory is an important aspect of Tajer’s methodology; his mission is to coax ideas and feelings into the real world, to translate the abstract into something material. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Casablanca, a New Menswear Line From Paris, Serves Up High Style With Après-Sport Ease," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To it all work, Daytona put in 1.3 million feet of copper wiring, 500,000 feet of coax and 150 miles of fiberoptics, including more than 75 telecommunication rooms to house the CDW storage and networking solutions. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "The Tech-Forward Reinvention of Daytona Speedway," 15 Feb. 2017

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

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First Known Use of coax

Verb

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

1945, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coax

Verb

earlier cokes, from cokes simpleton

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Dictionary Entries near coax

coattailed

coat-tree

coauthor

coax

coaxal

coaxation

coaxial

Statistics for coax

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coax

The first known use of coax was in 1581

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More Definitions for coax

coax

verb

English Language Learners Definition of coax

: to influence or persuade (a person or animal) to do something by talking in a gentle and friendly way
: to get (something) by talking in a gentle and friendly way
: to cause (something) to do something by making a careful and continual effort

coax

verb
\ ˈkōks \
coaxed; coaxing

Kids Definition of coax

1 : to influence by gentle urging, special attention, or flattering She coaxed her kitty out of the tree.
2 : to get or win by means of gentle urging or flattery He coaxed a raise from the boss.

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More from Merriam-Webster on coax

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coax

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coax

Spanish Central: Translation of coax

Nglish: Translation of coax for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coax for Arabic Speakers

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