from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To make soft or softer.
- transitive v. To undermine or reduce the strength, morale, or resistance of.
- transitive v. To make less harsh, strident, or critical: softened the last paragraph of the letter.
- intransitive v. To become soft or softer.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To make something soft or softer.
- v. To undermine the morale of someone (often soften up).
- v. To make less harsh
- v. To become soft or softer
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To make soft or more soft.
- transitive v. To render less hard; -- said of matter.
- transitive v. To mollify; to make less fierce or intractable.
- transitive v. To palliate; to represent as less enormous.
- transitive v. To compose; to mitigate; to assuage.
- transitive v. To make less harsh, less rude, less offensive, or less violent, or to render of an opposite quality.
- transitive v. To make less glaring; to tone down.
- transitive v. To make tender; to make effeminate; to enervate.
- transitive v. To make less harsh or grating, or of a quality the opposite.
- intransitive v. To become soft or softened, or less rude, harsh, severe, or obdurate.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To become soft or less hard.
- To become less rude, harsh, severe, or cruel; grow less obstinate or obdurate; become more susceptible of humane feelings and tenderness; relent.
- To pass by soft, imperceptible degrees; melt; blend.
- To make soft, or more soft.
- To mollify; make less fierce or intractable; make more susceptible of humane or fine feelings: as, to soften a hard heart; to soften savage natures.
- To make tender; make effeminate; enervate: as, troops softened by luxury.
- To make less harsh or severe, less rude, less offensive or violent; mitigate: as, to soften an expression.
- To make less glaring; tone down; make less sharp or harsh: as, to soften the coloring of a picture; to soften the outline of something.
- To make less strong or intense in sound; make less loud; make smooth to the ear: as, to soften the voice.
- To remove from (natural water) the hardness due to the presence of salts of calcium or magnesium in solution. In the case of temporary hardness, boiling the water or adding to it a carefully determined proportion of calcium hydroxid is used to produce softening; in the case of permanent hardness, sodium carbonate, not in too large excess, may be added. See hardness, 2.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. make less severe or harsh
- v. become soft or softer
- v. lessen in force or effect
- v. make (images or sounds) soft or softer
- v. make soft or softer
- v. protect from impact
- v. give in, as to influence or pressure
From Middle English soft + en (Wiktionary)