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[kuhm-fert] /ˈkʌm fərt/
verb (used with object)
to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to:
They tried to comfort her after her loss.
to make physically comfortable.
Obsolete. to aid; support or encourage.
relief in affliction; consolation; solace:
Her presence was a comfort to him.
a feeling of relief or consolation:
Her forgiveness afforded him great comfort.
a person or thing that gives consolation:
She was a great comfort to him.
a cause or matter of relief or satisfaction:
The patient's recovery was a comfort to the doctor.
a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety:
He is a man who enjoys his comfort.
something that promotes such a state:
His wealth allows him to enjoy a high degree of comfort.
Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a comforter or quilt.
Obsolete. strengthening aid; assistance.
1175-1225; (v.) Middle English comfortien, variant of confortien, conforten < Anglo-French, Old French conforter < Late Latin confortāre to strengthen, equivalent to con- con- + -fortāre verbal derivative of Latin fortis strong; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the v.
Related forms
comfortless, adjective
uncomforted, adjective
Can be confused
comfit, comfort (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. pacify, calm, solace, gladden. Comfort, console, relieve, soothe imply assuaging sorrow, worry, discomfort, or pain. To comfort is to lessen the sadness or sorrow of someone and to strengthen by inspiring with hope and restoring a cheerful outlook: to comfort a despairing person. Console, a more formal word, means to make grief or distress seem lighter, by means of kindness and thoughtful attentions: to console a bereaved parent. Relieve means to lighten, lessen, or remove pain, trouble, discomfort, or hardship: to relieve a needy person. Soothe means to pacify or calm: to soothe a child. 1, 2. ease. 8. See ease. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for comfort
  • Rather, travelers should visit the country and provide some sense of comfort to locals rather than leaving them feel isolated.
  • There is a comfort in lies whispered to ease our immediate fears, but they are lies nonetheless.
  • The satisfaction, the pleasure, the comfort one takes in these poems comes from the way they seem to have pre-existed us.
  • Everyone should find their comfort zone with technology and work within their strengths and personal styles.
  • Trees bring both comfort and measurable benefits to urban environments.
  • Further comfort is provided by epidemiological data showing no link between cell phones and cancer.
  • Serve atop mashed potatoes for a satisfying comfort meal.
  • It's either the ultimate in couch comfort or a totally bizarre idea dreamed up by a pair of designers obsessed with neuroscience.
  • The way you convey your professional comfort in the interview itself is through your discussion of all the things you are doing.
  • Of course that is cold comfort to the creditors who have lost money.
British Dictionary definitions for comfort


a state of ease or well-being
relief from affliction, grief, etc
a person, thing, or event that brings solace or ease
(obsolete) support
(usually pl) something that affords physical ease and relaxation
verb (transitive)
to ease the pain of; soothe; cheer
to bring physical ease to
Derived Forms
comforting, adjective
comfortingly, adverb
comfortless, adjective
comfortlessly, adverb
comfortlessness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French confort, from Late Latin confortāre to strengthen very much, from Latin con- (intensive) + fortis strong
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 comfort

late 13c., conforten "to cheer up, console," from Old French conforter "to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen," from Late Latin confortare "to strengthen much" (used in Vulgate), from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis "strong" (see fort). Change of -n- to -m- began in English 14c. Related: Comforted; comforting.


c.1200, "feeling of relief" (as still in to take comfort in something); also "source of alleviation or relief;" from Old French confort (see comfort (v.)). Replaced Old English frofor. Comforts (as opposed to necessities and luxuries) is from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with comfort
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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