American English

Definition of soften verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they soften
    he / she / it softens
    past simple softened
    -ing form softening
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to become, or to make something softer Fry the onions until they soften. soften something a lotion to soften the skin Linseed oil will soften stiff leather.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] soften (something) to become or to make something less bright, rough, or strong Trees soften the outline of the house.
  3. 3[intransitive, transitive] to become or to make someone or something more sympathetic and less severe or critical She felt herself softening toward him. His face softened as he looked at his son. soften somebody/something She softened her tone a little.
  4. 4[transitive] soften something to reduce the force or the unpleasant effects of something synonym cushion Airbags are designed to soften the impact of a car crash.
  5. Idioms
    soften/cushion the blow
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    to make something that is unpleasant seem less unpleasant and easier to accept
    Phrasal Verbssoften somebodyup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: soften