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soften

[saw-fuh n, sof-uh n] /ˈsɔ fən, ˈsɒf ən/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make soft or softer.
verb (used without object)
2.
to become soft or softer.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English; see soft, -en1
Related forms
oversoften, verb
resoften, verb
unsoftening, adjective
Synonyms
1. melt; mollify, mitigate, soothe, alleviate, calm, quiet, ease.
Antonyms
1, 2. harden.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for soften
  • When it's time to relax in a bubble bath, they are certain to soften and soothe you in all the right places.
  • The cushion will trim returns in normal times, but soften any declines and give you means to buy on a terrorism-related dip.
  • We all know people who change their tune later in life, soften or change their stand on issues or ideas.
  • The crust will seem crisp when it first comes out, then soften immediately, but will crisp back up as it cools.
  • Even one-on-one he was able to soften his approach through body language and facial expressions.
  • Of course, metals such as steel tend to soften when exposed to high temperatures-and that can cause parts to wear out prematurely.
  • While other companies use ammonia in their permanent hair dyes, some have created formulas to soften the hair coloring experience.
  • soften the bottom of the candle with a match, so that the wax begins to drip into the box, and place it inside the box.
  • Booking a politician on a comedy show is another way to soften his image.
  • Even as our bones and teeth soften, the rest of our body hardens.
British Dictionary definitions for soften

soften

/ˈsɒfən/
verb
1.
to make or become soft or softer
2.
to make or become gentler
3.
(intransitive) (commerce)
  1. (of demand, a market, etc) to weaken
  2. (of a price) to fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for soften
v.

late 14c., "to mitigate, diminish" (transitive), from soft (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "to make physically soft" is from 1520s; intransitive sense of "to become softer" is attested from 1610s. Soften up in military sense of "weaken defenses" is from 1940. Related: Softened; softening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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