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[soo-th ing] /ˈsu ðɪŋ/
that soothes:
a soothing voice.
tending to assuage pain:
a soothing cough syrup.
Origin of soothing
1590-1600; soothe + -ing2
Related forms
soothingly, adverb
soothingness, noun
oversoothing, adjective
oversoothingly, adverb
self-soothing, adjective
unsoothing, adjective
unsoothingly, adverb


[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.
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 soothing
  • Although there is a sedateness about the soothing beige color scheme that denotes a certain elegance.
  • Bet hugging your horse is more soothing than hugging my fish.
  • Too often the soothing rattle-and-purr of their air-conditioners fades into sweaty silence.
  • Nonexpert treatment shown to be more effective than primary care in soothing widespread anxiety.
  • People have long used soothing music or calming sounds to reduce brain activity and help them relax.
  • It is done in soothing beiges with wood trim, comfortable banquettes and well-distanced tables.
  • But with green tea, there is a preparation ritual that can be soothing.
  • There is a lot of empirical evidence on the soothing effects of many types of background sounds.
  • At one end is a floor-to-ceiling painted window that bathes the space in soothing varicolored light.
  • But this time both sides wanted more than soothing rhetoric.
British Dictionary definitions for soothing


having a calming, assuaging, or relieving effect
Derived Forms
soothingly, adverb
soothingness, noun


(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 soothing

1590s, "flattering," from present participle of soothe. Sense of "mollifying" is from 1746. Related: Soothingly.



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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