soften

To soften is to make something soft, or to become soft. A stick of butter will soften after sitting on the counter for an hour—or you can soften it by squishing it with a wooden spoon.

You can literally soften things, the way a sculptor softens clay or you soften the skin on your hands with lotion. Turning down the sound is another way to soften something: "I'll soften the radio so it doesn't keep you awake." When you make something gentler or less severe, you also soften it, like when a lawmaker tries to soften the effect of a law by proposing a tax cut in return.

Definitions of soften
  1. verb
    make soft or softer
    “This liquid will soften your laundry”
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    Antonyms:
    harden, indurate
    make hard or harder
    harden, indurate
    become hard or harder
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    types:
    mellow
    soften, make mellow
    mollify
    make less rigid or softer
    macerate
    soften, usually by steeping in liquid, and cause to disintegrate as a result
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  2. verb
    become soft or softer
    “The bread will soften if you pour some liquid on it”
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    Antonyms:
    harden, indurate
    become hard or harder
    harden, indurate
    make hard or harder
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    types:
    mellow
    make or grow (more) mellow
    macerate
    become soft or separate and disintegrate as a result of excessive soaking
    type of:
    change
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  3. verb
    make (images or sounds) soft or softer
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    Antonyms:
    sharpen
    make (images or sounds) sharp or sharper
    types:
    damp, dampen, dull, muffle, mute, tone down
    deaden (a sound or noise), especially by wrapping
    type of:
    change intensity
    increase or decrease in intensity
  4. verb
    lessen in force or effect
    soften a shock”
    synonyms: break, damp, dampen, dilute, weaken
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    types:
    deafen
    make soundproof
    damp, dampen, deaden
    make vague or obscure or make (an image) less visible
    type of:
    blunt, deaden
    make less lively, intense, or vigorous; impair in vigor, force, activity, or sensation
  5. verb
    protect from impact
    synonyms: buffer, cushion
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    type of:
    modify
    make less severe or harsh or extreme
  6. verb
    make less severe or harsh
    synonyms: mince, moderate
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    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  7. verb
    give in, as to influence or pressure
    synonyms: relent, yield
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    Antonyms:
    remain firm, stand
    hold one's ground; maintain a position; be steadfast or upright
    fend, resist, stand
    withstand the force of something
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    types:
    truckle
    yield to out of weakness
Word Family