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Webster 1913 Edition


Soften

Sof′ten

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Softened
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Softening
.]
To make soft or more soft.
Specifically: –
(a)
To render less hard; – said of matter.
Their arrow’s point they
soften
in the flame.
Gay.
(b)
To mollify; to make less fierce or intractable.
Diffidence conciliates the proud, and
softens
the severe.
Rambler.
(c)
To palliate; to represent as less enormous;
as, to
soften
a fault
.
(d)
To compose; to mitigate; to assuage.
Music can
soften
pain to ease.
Pope.
(e)
To make calm and placid.
All that cheers or
softens
life.
Pope.
(f)
To make less harsh, less rude, less offensive, or less violent, or to render of an opposite quality.
He bore his great commision in his look,
But tempered awe, and
softened
all he spoke.
Dryden.
(g)
To make less glaring; to tone down;
as, to
soften
the coloring of a picture
.
(h)
To make tender; to make effeminate; to enervate;
as, troops
softened
by luxury
.
(i)
To make less harsh or grating, or of a quality the opposite;
as, to
soften
the voice
.

Sof′ten

,
Verb.
I.
To become soft or softened, or less rude, harsh, severe, or obdurate.

Webster 1828 Edition


Soften

SOFTEN

,
Verb.
T.
sof'n.
1.
To make soft or more soft; to make less hard. their arrow's point they soften in the flame.
2.
To mollify; to make less fierce or intractable; to make more susceptible of humane or fine feelings; as, to soften a hard heart; to soften savage natures. The heart is softened by pity. Diffidence concilliates the proud, and softens the severe.
3.
To make less harsh or severe; as, to soften an expression.
4.
To palliate; to represent as less enormous; as, to soften a fault.
5.
To make easy; to compose; to mitigate; to alleviate. Music can soften the pain to ease.
6.
To make calm and placid. Bid her be all that cheers or softens life.
7.
To make less harsh, less rude, less offensive or violent. But sweetly temper'd awe, and soften'd all be spoke.
8.
To make less glaring; as, to soften the coloring of a picture.
9.
To make tender; to make effeminate; to enervate; as troops softened by luxury.
10.
To make less harsh or grating; as, to soften the voice.

SOFTEN

,
Verb.
I.
sof'n. To become less hard; to become more pliable and yielding to pressure; as, irion or wax softens in heat; fruits soften as they ripen.
2.
To become less rude, harsh or cruel; as, savage natures soften by civilization.
3.
To become less obstinate or obdurate; to become more susceptible of humane feelings and tenderness; to relent. The heart softens at the sight of woe.
4.
To become more mild; as, the air softens.
5.
To become less harsh, severe or rigorous.

Definition 2021


soften

soften

English

Verb

soften (third-person singular simple present softens, present participle softening, simple past and past participle softened)

  1. (transitive) To make something soft or softer.
    Soften the butter before beating in the sugar.
  2. (transitive) To undermine the morale of someone (often soften up).
    Before the invasion, we softened up the enemy with the artillery.
  3. (transitive) To make less harsh
    Having second thoughts, I softened my criticism.
    • 2015 February 7, Helen Yemm, “Thorny problems: How can I soften a brick wall with plants?”, in The Daily Telegraph (London), page G7:
      I have recently reclad the south-west facing side of my single-storey cottage [] . I now want to plant some climbers of more manageable proportions to soften the building.
  4. (intransitive) To become soft or softer
    The butter softened as it warmed up.

Translations

See also