coax

verb
\ ˈkōks How to pronounce coax (audio) \
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 How to pronounce coax (audio) \

Definition of coax (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The challenge for conventional employers is to coax this generation into the office 9 to 5. Rick Montgomery, kansascity, "What companies want: millennials. What they're offering: massages, student loan help | The Kansas City Star," 27 Apr. 2018 The peppers, celery and carrots are cooked just enough to coax out their flavors while maintaining their freshness and texture. Anchorage Daily News, "Dimond Pho dishes up flavors from Thailand and Vietnam in South Anchorage," 14 Feb. 2018 Being an enthusiastic, charismatic, highly visible public figure with a lively Twitter account may add value, but those duties won’t coax a hesitant leader out of hiding. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Eisenhower Code: Happy to Serve, Reluctant to Lead," 7 Dec. 2018 Any progress could depend on whether Moon's envoys were able to coax a stronger verbal commitment from North Korea on denuclearization to help put the nuclear talks between the United States and Pyongyang back on track. Fox News, "North's media say Kim vows nuclear-free Korea amid standoff," 6 Sep. 2018 Any progress could depend on whether Moon’s envoys are able to coax a stronger verbal commitment from North Korea on denuclearization to help put the nuclear talks between the United States and Pyongyang back on track. Kim Tong-hyung, The Seattle Times, "South Korean envoys leave for North Korea to set up summit," 4 Sep. 2018 The sense of peace his San Pedro garden had long instilled was giving way to that old angst of trying coax life out of dry ground. Joe Mozingo, latimes.com, "One of L.A.'s oldest community gardens thrived for decades. Then the water wars began.," 4 June 2018 Their 'preparation' predominantly consisted of coaxing players out of retreating back home, or otherwise eloping elsewhere, whilst simultaneously being extorted over team selection. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 6 Weeks to Go - The Own Goal That Killed Andres Escobar," 13 May 2018 Sometimes a coach can scheme and drill and coax something glorious out of a group without much of that individual brilliance. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball's John Beilein squeezed everything from U-M roster," 3 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about coax

Listen to Our Podcast about coax

Dictionary Entries near coax

coattailed

coat-tree

coauthor

coax

coaxal

coaxation

coaxial

Statistics for coax

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coax

The first known use of coax was in 1581

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce coax (audio) \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on coax

What made you want to look up coax? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!