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 upsoften 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 Keeping babies from getting their limbs trapped is a main selling point for the products, along with softening blows from an infant tumbling against a crib's side. Anchorage Daily News, "Dozens of infant deaths have been tied to a popular baby product. But regulators are too paralyzed to act.," 24 Nov. 2019 Keeping babies from getting their limbs trapped is a main selling point for the products, along with softening blows from an infant tumbling against a crib’s side. Washington Post, "Dozens of infant deaths have been tied to a popular baby product. But regulators are too paralyzed to act.," 23 Nov. 2019 Critics including members of Trump's family and Republican officials quickly accused The Washington Post of softening its description of al-Baghdadi out of disdain for the president. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "The Washington Post faces backlash for headline calling ISIS terrorist 'austere religious scholar'," 27 Oct. 2019 In addition to softening the room’s look, the felt also helps with sound absorption. Phil Vettel, chicagotribune.com, "Michelin-starred chefs’ sequel restaurant Wherewithall is sensational," 18 Oct. 2019 Harbaugh's comments were a way of softening the jeers endured by a flagging attack that ranks in the bottom half of the FBS in scoring and has struggled to keep possession of the ball and maximize its opportunities in the red zone. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "As spin cycle continues, Michigan football's offense remains far behind nation's elite," 8 Oct. 2019 With the global economy softening, a full-blown trade war with Beijing could deprive Trump of his strongest election year issue by pushing the U.S. economy into recession. Rober Kuttner, Time, "Trump Will Fail on China Trade War, but Progressive Democrats Must Carry On the Fight," 30 Sep. 2019 Australia, one of the group’s 18 members, insisted on removing references to coal in the final declaration and on softening the language. The Economist, "Island states have had an outsized influence on climate policy," 19 Sep. 2019 But while Elliott’s situation has shown signs of softening, Gordon and the Chargers remain entrenched in their respective positions. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Chargers GM Tom Telesco says team is suspending Melvin Gordon contract talks," 1 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for soften

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for soften

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Soften.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/softener?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=s&file=soften03. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for soften

soften

verb
How to pronounce soften (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for soften

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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