len·​i·​tive | \ ˈle-nə-tiv How to pronounce lenitive (audio) \

Definition of lenitive

: alleviating pain or harshness : soothing

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Other Words from lenitive

lenitive noun
lenitively adverb

Did You Know?

Lenitive first appeared in English in the 15th century. It derived from the Latin verb lenire ("to soften or soothe"), which was itself formed from the adjective lenis, meaning "soft" or "mild." "Lenire" also gave us the adjective "lenient," which usually means "tolerant" or "indulgent" today but in its original sense carried the meaning of "relieving pain or stress." Often found in medical contexts, "lenitive" can also be a noun referring to a treatment (such as a salve) with soothing or healing properties.

First Known Use of lenitive

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lenitive

Middle English lenitif, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin lenitivus, from Latin lenitus, past participle of lenire

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The first known use of lenitive was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Lenitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lenitive. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for lenitive


len·​i·​tive | \ ˈlen-ət-iv How to pronounce lenitive (audio) \

Medical Definition of lenitive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: alleviating pain or harshness



Medical Definition of lenitive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a lenitive medicine or application

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