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[sooth] /suð/
verb (used with object), soothed, soothing.
to tranquilize or calm, as a person or the feelings; relieve, comfort, or refresh:
soothing someone's anger; to soothe someone with a hot drink.
to mitigate, assuage, or allay, as pain, sorrow, or doubt:
to soothe sunburned skin.
verb (used without object), soothed, soothing.
to exert a soothing influence; bring tranquillity, calm, ease, or comfort.
Origin of soothe
before 950; Middle English sothen to verify, Old English sōthian, equivalent to sōth sooth + -ian infinitive suffix; Modern English sense shift “to verify” > “to support (a person's statement)” > “to encourage” > “to calm”
Related forms
soother, noun
self-soothed, adjective
unsoothed, adjective
1. See comfort, allay. 2. alleviate, appease, mollify.
1. upset, roil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for soothe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Lance longed for the right to soothe her, but only durst lay his hand on the back of her chair.

  • Her heart hurt until her hand crept to her side in an effort to soothe it.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • To soothe the irritation, the stomach should be soaped in the same manner as recommended in Head, Soaping the (see also Lather).

    Papers on Health John Kirk
  • The man continued to address, to expostulate, to pray, to soothe.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • During those dreadfully long hours your presence was a blessing; it could soothe away the pain and bring hope and comfort.

    The Peace of Roaring River George van Schaick
British Dictionary definitions for soothe


(transitive) to make calm or tranquil
(transitive) to relieve or assuage (pain, longing, etc)
(intransitive) to bring tranquillity or relief
Derived Forms
soother, noun
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: to mollify): from Old English sōthian to prove; related to Old Norse sanna to assert; see sooth
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 soothe

Old English soðian "show to be true," from soð "true" (see sooth). Sense of "quiet, comfort, mollify" is first recorded 1690s, via notion of "to assuage one by asserting that what he says is true" (i.e. to be a yes-man), a sense attested from 1560s (and cf. Old English gesoð "a parasite, flatterer"). Meaning "reduce the intensity" (of a pain, etc.) is from 1711. Related: Soothed; soothing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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