emol·​lient | \ i-ˈmäl-yənt How to pronounce emollient (audio) \

Definition of emollient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : making soft or supple also : soothing especially to the skin or mucous membrane an emollient hand lotion
2 : making less intense or harsh : mollifying soothe us in our agonies with emollient words— H. L. Mencken



Definition of emollient (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that softens or soothes

Examples of emollient in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Fortunately, a class of rich, emollient cold-weather creams is here to help. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The 10 Best Moisturizers to Save Dry Winter Skin," 15 Jan. 2019 On the other hand, emollient ingredients soften skin. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Everything You Need to Know About Putting Oils on Your Face," 12 July 2018 The North’s relatively emollient tone suggests that there remains an opening for the summit to go ahead at a later date and for talks about it to carry on in the meantime. The Economist, "Donald Trump is undermining the coalition he built against North Korea," 25 May 2018 In 2010, a year after setting out that goal, Mr Obama’s administration negotiated the New START agreement with Dmitry Medvedev, Mr Putin’s more emollient sidekick and placeholder. The Economist, "Old deals to limit nuclear weapons are fraying. They may not be repaired," 5 May 2018 The government is now headed by a more emollient figure: a former banker who also continues to head the ministries of finance and economic development. The Economist, "DebeatifiedPoland’s prime minister gets the chop," 14 Dec. 2017 Not mascara, lip balm, or even my ride-or-die concealer, but the thick, ultra-emollient ointment that's saved my ass (er, my skin) too many times to count. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Aquaphor's $12 Ointment Spray Is a Game-Changer for People With Skin Conditions Like Mine," 3 Nov. 2017 Rich in emollient olive oil, this cleanser effortlessly removes even the most stubborn of waterproof makeup, but also deposits a slew of antioxidants onto the skin, which protect from environmental, free-radical damage. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, Teen Vogue, "DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review," 23 June 2017 Speaking in the courtyard of Louvre last night, Macron celebrated by striking a soothing, emollient tone. Isobel Thompson, The Hive, "France’s New President Is Already Fighting the Trump Agenda," 8 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Your styling products are too heavy Products like waxes, creams, and oils can make your hair greasier too, since they're made with emollients. Sam Escobar, Good Housekeeping, "9 Mistakes That Are Making Your Hair Look Greasy," 25 Mar. 2019 It's apparently packed with emollients like olive extract, as well as light-diffusing powders that create that an incredible airbrushed effect. Glamour, "This Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick Makes My Face Look Instantly Poreless," 8 Mar. 2019 Edap, a soothing, fast-absorbing emollient infused with a potent mix of Vitamin A, E, and D oils. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Ryan Reynolds on His Skin-Care Routine, and Why It’s Sexy to Embrace Aging," 14 Feb. 2019 In place of traditional emollients, Pixi's liquid tonic relies on moisturizing jasmine flower extract and hydrating glycerin to keep skin balanced. Sophie Wirt, Allure, "Pixi by Petra Launches the First-Ever Retinol Tonic," 19 July 2018 To avoid this, Giglio recommends a lip-prep product that’s not super emollient. Talia Abbas, SELF, "13 Things I Learned When I Wore Red Lipstick Every Day for a Week," 17 Oct. 2018 Follow up with a thick, fragrance-free emollient, such La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5, $15, or NUXE Baume Levres Reve De Miel Honey Lip Balm, $13, overnight to speed up the healing process. Talia Abbas, SELF, "We Asked Derms How to Keep Dry Lips Moisturized During Winter and Here’s What They Told Us," 11 Dec. 2018 Unlike the original, which is ultra, ultra thick and emollient, this new rendition sinks into skin almost instantly and does so without sacrificing the calming and glow-giving abilities of its counterpart. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Exclusive: Weleda Created an Entire Collection of Skin Food Products," 22 Oct. 2018 In both Skinfix products, there's a blend of hydrating emollients, like shea butter, to soothe just-exfoliated skin. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "Skinfix's Renewing Body Scrub & Cream Combo Is the Most Effective Keratosis Pilaris Treatment I've Ever Used," 27 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emollient.' 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 emollient


1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for emollient


Latin emollient-, emolliens, present participle of emollire to soften, from e- + mollis soft — more at mollify

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about emollient

Dictionary Entries near emollient








Statistics for emollient

Last Updated

4 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emollient

The first known use of emollient was in 1626

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for emollient


emol·​lient | \ i-ˈmäl-yənt How to pronounce emollient (audio) \

Medical Definition of emollient

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: making soft or supple also : soothing especially to the skin or mucous membrane



Medical Definition of emollient (Entry 2 of 2)

: an emollient agent an emollient for the hands

More from Merriam-Webster on emollient

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about emollient

Comments on emollient

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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