Soften Sof"ten, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Softened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Softening}.] To make soft or more soft. Specifically: [1913 Webster] (a) To render less hard; -- said of matter. [1913 Webster]

Their arrow's point they soften in the flame. --Gay. [1913 Webster] (b) To mollify; to make less fierce or intractable. [1913 Webster]

Diffidence conciliates the proud, and softens the severe. --Rambler. [1913 Webster] (c) To palliate; to represent as less enormous; as, to soften a fault. [1913 Webster] (d) To compose; to mitigate; to assuage. [1913 Webster]

Music can soften pain to ease. --Pope. [1913 Webster] (e) To make calm and placid. [1913 Webster]

All that cheers or softens life. --Pope. [1913 Webster] (f) To make less harsh, less rude, less offensive, or less violent, or to render of an opposite quality. [1913 Webster]

He bore his great commision in his look, But tempered awe, and softened all he spoke. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] (g) To make less glaring; to tone down; as, to soften the coloring of a picture. [1913 Webster] (h) To make tender; to make effeminate; to enervate; as, troops softened by luxury. [1913 Webster] (i) To make less harsh or grating, or of a quality the opposite; as, to soften the voice. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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