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caress

[kuh-res] /kəˈrɛs/
noun
1.
an act or gesture expressing affection, as an embrace or kiss, especially a light stroking or touching.
verb (used with object)
2.
to touch or pat gently to show affection.
3.
to touch, stroke, etc., lightly, as if in affection:
The breeze caressed the trees.
4.
to treat with favor, kindness, etc.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; < French caresse < Italian carezza < Vulgar Latin *caritia, equivalent to Latin cār(us) dear + -itia suffix of abstract nouns; cf. charity
Related forms
caressable, adjective
caresser, noun
caressingly, adverb
uncaressed, adjective
uncaressing, adjective
uncaressingly, adverb
Synonyms
1. pat, fondling, hug.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for caressing
  • Hair caressing a pillow, fingers clutched in prayer, a peering eye.
  • To actually be within caressing distance would probably cause me to faint.
  • Waves beat on the shore, rushing up the pebbly beach and withdrawing with a caressing hiss.
  • Here and there went his hands, caressing the shoulders of the boys, playing about the tousled heads.
  • But this caressing hypocrisy failed in its customary effect on the severe elder brother.
  • She spends her time painting the walls and polishing the floors, as if she were physically caressing her self-imposed prison.
  • As visiting areas are family friendly environments, caressing of any kind will not be allowed.
British Dictionary definitions for caressing

caress

/kəˈrɛs/
noun
1.
a gentle touch or embrace, esp one given to show affection
verb
2.
(transitive) to touch or stroke gently with affection or as with affection: the wind caressed her face
Derived Forms
caresser, noun
caressingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from French caresse, from Italian carezza, from Latin cārus dear
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 caressing

caress

n.

1640s, "show of endearment, display of regard," from French caresse (16c.), back-formation from caresser or else from Italian carezza "endearment," from caro "dear," from Latin carus "dear, costly, beloved" (see whore (n.)). Meaning "affectionate stroke" attested in English from 1650s.

v.

1650s, from French caresser, from Italian carezzare "to cherish," from carezza "endearment" (see caress (n.)). Related: Caressed; caressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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