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 Because the formula is so emollient, the finish is subtly shiny, which makes lips look lush and healthy. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Victoria Beckham Beauty Just Dropped a Posh-Inspired Lipstick Collection," 3 Oct. 2020 Several small randomized trials have found that parents who applied an emollient moisturizer to their infants’ skin each day for the first 6 to 7 months had babies who were less likely to develop eczema than parents who didn’t. Alice Callahan, New York Times, "The New Rules of Food Allergy Prevention, Testing and Diagnosis," 17 Apr. 2020 Johns recommends that people apply a thick, emollient moisturizer in ointment form — such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment, rather than relying on creams and lotions, which can have alcohol and cause further drying. Rebecca Gale, Washington Post, "Don’t stop at washing your hands to prevent coronavirus. Moisturize them, too.," 6 Mar. 2020 But for most politicians, dogs are no-downside campaign enhancers: friendly foils, emollient front-animals, reliable comic relief providers, and slobbery good will ambassadors. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "When Your Best Surrogate Can’t Talk," 28 Jan. 2020 Get our daily newsletter Hours later, America’s State Department issued a more emollient statement. The Economist, "Nuclear talks between North Korea and America break down, again," 6 Oct. 2019 Both Zeichner and Liverman recommend adding a more emollient moisturizer, as well as an extra-hydrating serum when the temperature drops. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "How 5 Women With Great Skin Transition Their Skin-Care Routines to Fall," 30 Sep. 2019 Labour’s emollient approach means that the Tories no longer need to be macho about welfare. The Economist, "British attitudes to welfare have undergone a quiet revolution," 11 July 2019 Next is the Eye Concentrate, a rich, emollient cream formulated with magnetically charged hematite to melt away the appearance of dark circles and discoloration. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "This Luxe La Mer Skin-Care Is Sure to Sell Out During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale," 12 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Moisturize & Repair Night Cream, a rejuvenating and antioxidant-rich cream that features an emollient delivery system that drives cellular nourishing nutrients beyond the layer of skin and deep into the dermis. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, "Skincare Products Formulated To Be An Essential Part Of Her Daily Routine," 28 Feb. 2021 Squalane, a more stable cousin of squalene, a naturally occurring emollient in human skin, is lightweight and absorbs well. Sabina Wizemann, Good Housekeeping, "What You Need to Know About Occlusives in Skincare," 28 Dec. 2020 When looking for lotions and creams to slather on, a combination of humectant, emollient, and occlusive ingredients make for the most effective moisturizers. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "A Guide to Managing Keratosis Pilaris This Season," 28 Nov. 2020 Both shadows are ultra-shimmery and contain opal, as well as squalane, which gives the formula a gorgeous emollient look and feel. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Victoria Beckham's 9-Year-Old Daughter Did Her Makeup, and It's Daytime Smoky Eye Perfection," 8 Nov. 2020 The emollient balm is formulated with green tea, vitamin E, and SPF 25 sun protection. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Our favorite affordable lip balms," 27 Oct. 2020 For a super hydrating serum that doubles as a light moisturizer, Holifrog’s Galilee Antioxidant Dewy Drop contains aloe vera juice and a trio of emollient oils as well as antioxidant ingredients such as coenzyme Q10, squalane and green tea extract. Kerstin Czarra, New York Times, "The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week," 8 Oct. 2020 Shea butter is a fairly rich emollient that helps moisturize and even forms a barrier to prevent moisture loss. Jennifer Blair, chicagotribune.com, "The best body scrub," 22 Aug. 2020 Shea butter, for example, is an emollient ingredient used in skin care for its hydrating and skin-softening benefits. Marci Robin, Allure, "I Tried Soliscia, a Face Covering Made With Shea Butter-Infused Fabric to Moisturize and Protect Skin," 20 Aug. 2020

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.

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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

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The first known use of emollient was in 1626

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Cite this Entry

“Emollient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emollient. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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

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