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

On its own, squalene (or squalane) doesn’t feel greasy and acts like an emollient when applied to the skin, Dr. Stevenson says. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "What the Heck Is Squalane Oil and Why Is It Suddenly in All My Skin-Care Products?," 20 June 2019 But oils are also emollients, which means that unlike creams or ointments, which sink deep into skin for intensive, long-lasting hydration, oils tend to hang out near the surface. Glamour, "Best Face Oil for Every Skin Type and How to Use Them," 16 May 2019 The other types of moisturizers are emollients (which are used to soften and strengthen the outer layer of skin by filling in the spaces between skin cells) and occlusives (which act like sealants to keep water in). Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "What You Should Know Before Using a Trendy New Face Oil," 13 Mar. 2019 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

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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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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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about emollient

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