Definition of soften in English:

soften

Line breaks: soft¦en
Pronunciation: /ˈsɒf(ə)n
 
/

verb

1Make or become soft or softer: [with object]: plant extracts to soften and moisturize the skin [no object]: let the vegetables soften over a low heat
More example sentences
  • When the oil is hot, add the carrot and onion and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • These are products which can prevent drying of the skin, thereby moisturizing and softening the skin.
  • It offers a rich, creamy lather that will invigorate, moisturize and soften your hair.
1.1 [with object] (Of a market, currency, or commodity) fall in value: the share price has softened recently rents have softened in out-of-town locations sales could soften if the economy turns down
More example sentences
  • Many cities with a high proportion of college graduates also have expensive homes, even with the softening real estate market.
  • Owners of gold in any form might consider buying a quantity of short funds to soften the tremendous volatility of gold.
  • Member countries cannot revert to tax cuts or fiscal easing to soften the impact of the strong euro on their big exporters.
2Make or become less severe: [with object]: a major injection of private cash could soften the blow for the taxpayer [no object]: her expression softened at the sight of Diane’s white face
More example sentences
  • Something sharp and dangerous transformed his face, his expression going from that of a parent trying to soften a blow to a dark anger.
  • The combination lets people have it both ways: The foam keeps the cushion upright and helps it hold its shape, while the down makes a comfortable seat and softens the severe line of the foam.
  • Better to wait until bubbles burst and manage the consequences, softening the economic blow by loosening monetary policy very quickly.
Synonyms
2.1 [with object] Undermine the resistance of (someone): the blockade appears a better weapon with which to soften them up for eventual surrender
More example sentences
  • We're hoping that maybe you can soften him just enough that he will tell us at least something of what we need to know.
  • He has softened him up and now he moves to place his Knight on a better square.
  • You will not soften us up by telling us the problems.
Synonyms
weaken, undermine someone's resistance, reduce someone's defensive capability
3 [with object] Remove mineral salts from (water).
More example sentences
  • Observations have shown increased copper levels in water softened with ion exchange water softeners.
  • The higher the concentration of these minerals, the more sodium needed to soften the water.
  • The vinegar in this formula will help to remove stains, odors and soften the water.

Derivatives

softener

noun
More example sentences
  • It's not true that colouring causes loss of hair and leaves the hair dry - with use of correct shampoos and softeners, you can keep your hair healthy.
  • Modern household softeners have an automatic backwash or regeneration cycle to clean off the salt and allow it to resume its task.
  • Residues from fabric softeners, as well as the fragrances commonly used in them, can be irritating to susceptible people.

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