soften

soften
[[t]sɒ̱f(ə)n, AM sɔ͟ːf-[/t]]
softens, softening, softened
1) V-ERG If you soften something or if it softens, it becomes less hard, stiff, or firm.

[V n] Soften the butter mixture in a small saucepan...

Fry for about 4 minutes, until the onion has softened.

2) VERB If one thing softens the damaging effect of another thing, it makes the effect less severe.

[V n] There were also pledges to soften the impact of the subsidy cuts on the poorer regions.

[V n] ...he could not think how to soften the blow of what he had to tell her.

3) V-ERG If you soften your position, if your position softens, or if you soften, you become more sympathetic and less hostile or critical.

[V n] The letter shows no sign that the Americans have softened their position...

His party's policy has softened a lot in recent years...

Livy felt herself soften towards Caroline.

Ant:
4) V-ERG If your voice or expression softens or if you soften it, it becomes much more gentle and friendly.

All at once, Mick's serious expression softened into a grin...

[V n] She did not smile or soften her voice.

5) VERB If you soften something such as light, a colour, or a sound, you make it less bright or harsh.

[V n] We wanted to soften the light without destroying the overall effect of space...

[V n] Stark concrete walls have been softened by a show of fresh flowers.

6) VERB Something that softens your skin makes it very smooth and pleasant to touch.

[V n] ...products designed to moisturize and soften the skin.

Phrasal Verbs:

English dictionary. 2008.

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • soften up — 1. To lessen resistance in (informal) 2. To wear down by continuous shelling and bombing • • • Main Entry: ↑soft * * * ˌsoften ˈup [transitive] [present tense …   Useful english dictionary

  • Soften — Sof ten, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Softened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Softening}.] To make soft or more soft. Specifically: [1913 Webster] (a) To render less hard; said of matter. [1913 Webster] Their arrow s point they soften in the flame. Gay. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Søften — is a small Danish town in Jutland, about three kilometers south of Hinnerup and just outside Aarhus. The population of Søften was 2227 at last count (2004).HistoryArchaeologists have found evidence of people living where Søften was later built as …   Wikipedia

  • soften — UK US /ˈsɒfən/ verb ► [I] FINANCE, STOCK MARKET if demand, a price, a market, etc. softens, it stops increasing or it goes down: »Share prices softened with continued worries about the country s economic recovery. »Although demand softened again… …   Financial and business terms

  • soften up — soften (someone/something) up to weaken someone or something. Constant bombing was designed to soften the enemy up and weaken him. The ads were just a way to soften up public opinion to accept a big price increase …   New idioms dictionary

  • soften — ► VERB 1) make or become soft or softer. 2) (often soften up) undermine the resistance of. DERIVATIVES softener noun …   English terms dictionary

  • Soften — Sof ten, v. i. To become soft or softened, or less rude, harsh, severe, or obdurate. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • soften — index allay, alleviate, assuage, commute, ease, extenuate, give (yield), mitigate …   Law dictionary

  • soften — (v.) late 14c., to mitigate, diminish, from SOFT (Cf. soft) (adj.). Meaning to make physically soft is from 1520s; intrans. sense of to become softer is attested from 1610s. Related: Softened; softening …   Etymology dictionary

  • soften — [v] calm, soothe abate, allay, alleviate, appease, assuage, become tender, bend, cushion, diminish, disintegrate, dissolve, ease, enfeeble, give, knead, lessen, lighten, lower, mash, mellow, melt, mitigate, moderate, modify, moisten, mollify,… …   New thesaurus

  • soften — [sôf′ən, säf′ən] vt., vi. [ME softnen: see SOFT & EN] 1. to make or become soft or softer 2. to weaken the resistance or opposition of …   English World dictionary

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