soften

verb
soft·​en | \ ˈsȯ-fən \
softened; softening\ ˈsȯ-​fə-​niŋ , 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 , 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

Omorovicza’s skin-softening blend of apricot kernel, calendula, and carrot oils, infused with reparative golden flecks, packs a one-two punch that delivers a gleaming head-to-toe glow. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "8 Gold Beauty Products for Your Brightest New Year’s Eve Yet," 31 Dec. 2018 Scoring conditions were ideal on a warm day with little wind and greens softened by rain the day before. Fox News, "The Latest: Woods shoots 66, in contention at British Open," 21 July 2018 Cheese slices can be placed on the bread before the steak, and softened by the heat of the meat. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "Philly cheesesteak: Everything you need to know," 5 July 2018 There is little danger of the conscience of the right being awakened by the scandal in the way that European attitudes to migrants from Syria were softened by images of a drowned refugee child. The Economist, "A cruel and unusual border policy," 2 June 2018 Its former bottling room has been given over to Sartre, with high ceilings and industrial steel columns softened by pendant lamps and potted plants. Elaine Glusac, chicagotribune.com, "Don't underestimate dining scene in Cincinnati's dynamic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood," 8 May 2018 The Careless Whisper echoes a Sazerac with its rye and absinthe lethality camouflaged by chokecherry liqueur, while the Delicious #7 is the requisite mezcal proffer, its vegetal bite softened by applejack and herbal Benedictine. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Old Habits is bar food reborn," 20 Apr. 2018 Setting: In a commercial area, softened by views of rolling green hills, just west of Highway 101. San Francisco Chronicle, "Suite Spot: The Sandman Hotel, Santa Rosa," 17 Apr. 2018 But officials also drew down its reserve by $62 million to soften the blow. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Los Angeles and Other Cities Stash Money to Prepare for a Recession," 24 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 Feb 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 \
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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