soften up

phrasal verb

softened up; softening up; softens up
1
: to treat (someone) very well or kindly in order to make that person more likely to help one, give one something, etc.
He tried to soften her up by buying her flowers.
2
: to weaken (an enemy) through military attacks
They used artillery to soften up the enemy's defenses before launching a full-scale attack.

Examples of soften up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the Florida Panthers’ 35-year-old has also softened up his approach a bit over the past couple years and adapted a little more of an open, free mentality. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 The character was never supposed to soften up and be redeemed as Ben Solo. Zack Sharf, Variety, 8 Jan. 2024 It is designed specifically for softening up mattresses that are too firm, and is available in both 3 and 4-inch thickness options. Jack Byram, Health, 20 Apr. 2023 Walnut paneling and loads of eclectic sofas and tables soften up some of the hard, corporate edges. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 But leather can feel cooler to touch, may take a while to soften up and feel lived in, and can require conditioning to stay in top shape. Kristina McGuirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 Oct. 2023 It’s softened up a bit and got a bit more woody-sounding. Jason Thomas Gordon, Rolling Stone, 8 Sep. 2023 The hope was that these crushes—which were rarely communicated to their subjects—signaled that our hearts might someday soften up and become, once again, hospitable to life. Faith Hill, The Atlantic, 25 Aug. 2023 By Lindsay Talbot Market Report Upholstered Seating to Settle Into Wrapped entirely in velvet, leather or wool, modern dining chairs are softening up. Carlos Nazario Raphael Hirsch Colin King Jane How Delphine Danhier Mark Harris Mari Maeda and Yuji Oboshi M.h. Miller Mikael Olsson Kyoko Hamada M.h. Miller Esther Choi Sean Donnola Emiliano Granado, New York Times, 7 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'soften up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near soften up

Cite this Entry

“Soften up.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soften%20up. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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