Definition of soften verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    soften

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈsɒfn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɔːfn//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they soften
    BrE BrE//ˈsɒfn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɔːfn//
     
    he / she / it softens
    BrE BrE//ˈsɒfnz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɔːfnz//
     
    past simple softened
    BrE BrE//ˈsɒfnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɔːfnd//
     
    past participle softened
    BrE BrE//ˈsɒfnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɔːfnd//
     
    -ing form softening
    BrE BrE//ˈsɒfnɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɔːfnɪŋ//
     
     
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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 somebody/something more sympathetic and less severe or critical She felt herself softening towards 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. More Like This Silent letters gnarled, gnash, gnat, gnaw, gnome haute cuisine, heir, (NAmE herb), honour, hors d’oeuvre, hour knack, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knit, knob, knock, knot, know, knuckle psalm, psephology, psychic, ptarmigan, pterodactyl, psychology wrangle, wrap, wreath, wreck, wrench, wrestle, wriggle, wring, write, wrong bomb, climb, crumb, doubt, lamb, limb ascent, fascinate, muscle, scene, scissors height, right, sleigh, weight align, campaign, design, foreign, malign, reign, unfeigned balmy, calm, calf, half, yolk autumn, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn bristle, fasten, listen, mortgage, soften, thistle, wrestle biscuit, build, circuit, disguise, guilty, league, rogue, vague yacht answer, sword, twoSee worksheet. Extra examplesHer face softened into a smile. His smile softened slightly. I should try to soften the blow of this news. I’ve softened somewhat in my advancing age. The chancellor may try to soften the blow somewhat with a cut in interest rates.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 American Dictionary entry: soften