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 The Trump Administration has tried to temporarily soften the blow, offering billions in subsidies and trade relief to farmers. Gabrielle Canon, USA TODAY, "In California, Trump's trade war threatens permanent damage to some agriculture markets," 27 Aug. 2019 Over the weekend, some of Mr. Trump’s advisers tried to somewhat soften the blow of the president’s words. New York Times, "Business Groups Warn of Peril as Trump’s Trade War Spirals," 25 Aug. 2019 Hickenlooper softened his denials of interest in the Senate in recent weeks as his campaign finances dwindled and pressure increased from other Democrats. Time, "John Hickenlooper Ends 2020 Presidential Campaign," 15 Aug. 2019 Some property owners tried to soften the blow to renters by dropping their rental fees. Stephanie Ebbert, BostonGlobe.com, "Cape Cod rentals are having an unexpectedly slow summer," 28 July 2019 The older ones try to soften the blow for the younger ones, bouncing squalling babies in their arms, whispering to the 6-year-olds that everything will be okay, though no one believes it. Washington Post, "Dystopian authors reflect on our dystopian border," 14 July 2019 Having the baby with us, and grandparents who wanted to pass him around, softened our schedule. Jo Rodgers, Condé Nast Traveler, "On the Slow Boat Through Burgundy: A Barge Trip in France," 3 July 2019 The facility is sparkling clean, with touches that try to soften a hospital’s austerity. Corinne Purtill, Quartz at Work, "A simple strategy helps doctors fight burnout. Could it work for the rest of us?," 5 June 2019 During an interview on This Week, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, softened the hardline denials Trump World has made about contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Trump’s lawyer isn’t exactly denying that Trump had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks dumps," 17 Dec. 2018

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

4 Nov 2019

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
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

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