[[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.

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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  • 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

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  • 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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