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[kuhm-fer-ting] /ˈkʌm fər tɪŋ/
affording comfort or solace.
1250-1300; Middle English; see comfort, -ing2
Related forms
comfortingly, adverb
uncomforting, adjective


[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 comforting
  • Meditation can then be used to prevent pain from coming back by sweeping your body and mind with comforting thoughts and images.
  • The new work seems to contradict that comforting idea.
  • How comforting to have so much faith in science and humanity.
  • It is perversely comforting to reflect that people have been anticipating the end of the world for so many centuries.
  • But it's comforting to know that the big cats share some of the house cats' cuddlier characteristics.
  • There's something comforting, too, about the thought that we're still enjoying these same plants today.
  • Even the bleakest academic career path has a certain comforting familiarity about it.
  • It may not be comforting to those looking at facially, but for the students it might have been what they wanted.
  • It's strangely comforting--since the discouraging lyrics are matched with pretty hopeful feeling music.
  • Not entirely comforting, but overwhelmingly, the people shot are also carrying guns.
British Dictionary definitions for comforting


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 comforting



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 comforting
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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