soften

verb
soft·​en | \ ˈsȯ-fən How to pronounce soften (audio) \
softened; softening\ ˈsȯ-​fə-​niŋ How to pronounce softening (audio) , ˈsȯf-​niŋ \

Definition of soften

transitive verb

1 : to make soft or softer
2a : to weaken the military resistance or the morale of especially by harassment (such as preliminary bombardment) often used with up
b : to impair the strength or resistance of often used with up soften up a sales prospect

intransitive verb

: to become soft or softer her face softened

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Other Words from soften

softener \ ˈsȯ-​fə-​nər How to pronounce softener (audio) , ˈsȯf-​nər \ noun

Examples of soften in a Sentence

The butter will soften if left on the counter overnight. The recipe called for one stick of butter, softened. The oil is used to soften and preserve the leather. The lotion softens dry skin. The company has softened its stance on dating in the workplace. Her face softened when he entered the room. His criticism of the president has softened in the past year. The grass softened my fall.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about five minutes. 2. David Tanis, The Seattle Times, "A humble feast begins with lentils," 7 Jan. 2019 Add carrots, celery and potatoes, and cook until vegetables soften but pick up no color, about 3 minutes. 2. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "The Most Satisfying Vegetable Soup," 28 Dec. 2018 Slice or add raw blossoms to salads or use as a garnish to give a dish extra color or flavor, or sauté the whole blossoms in oil with a touch of garlic just until softened. Noelle Carter, latimes.com, "Edible flowers: Stuffed, fried and baked recipes for squash blossoms, now in season," 4 May 2018 Other consumer protections—such as private rights to sue over breaches—also could help soften Democratic opposition to pre-emption. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Partisan Rift Threatens Federal Data-Privacy Law," 17 Feb. 2019 Landing just days after hundreds of local companies issued profit warnings and multinationals sounded the alarm about softening demand, the week-long Lunar New Year holiday will provide the next litmus test of the resilience of the Chinese shopper. Daniela Wei, The Seattle Times, "Lunar New Year will show trade war’s effects in China economy," 4 Feb. 2019 The ingredients are formulated to relax and soothe sore muscles, joints, and pain, soften skin, and combat inflammation. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "A Heart-Shaped CBD Bath Bomb Is Exactly What You Need To Relax This Weekend," 1 Feb. 2019 Step 3 - Get Ready to Scrape The best way to remove the popcorn texture without damaging the drywall surface above is to first spray the ceiling with water to help soften the popcorn. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling," 25 Jan. 2019 When taking out braids and weaves sometimes hair can collect balls of debris (yup, pretty gross); for this, Leatherwood recommends using a softening product like Hawaiian Silky Miracle Worker 14 in 1. Lara Adekola, Teen Vogue, "How to Grow Your Natural Hair," 2 Jan. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for soften

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for soften

The first known use of soften was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for soften

soften

verb

English Language Learners Definition of soften

: to become less hard or firm or to make (something) less hard or firm
: to make (something) less dry or rough
: to make (something) less severe, harsh, extreme, etc.

soften

verb
soft·​en | \ ˈsȯ-fən How to pronounce soften (audio) \
softened; softening

Kids Definition of soften

1 : to make or become soft or less firm Let the wax soften in the sun.
2 : to make or become gentler or less harsh The elder's stern expression softened.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

Other Words from soften

softener noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on soften

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with soften

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for soften

Spanish Central: Translation of soften

Nglish: Translation of soften for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of soften for Arabic Speakers

Comments on soften

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