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beside the cushion
Unimportant. A digression. Oh, that's beside the cushion. Let's get back to the main topic.
soften the blowalso cushion the blow
to make a difficult experience less unpleasant Special relief funds have been set aside to soften the blow to families that lost someone in the disaster.
cushion the blow
to do something that reduces harm The way to cushion the blow is to raise prices slowly, not all at once.
Etymology: from the idea of making the force of one thing hitting another less damaging by surrounding it with something soft
soften the blow
to make something unpleasant easier to accept Although tuition rates are going up, more scholarships will be available to soften the blow. Not only were they losing their jobs, but they could not count on any financial cushion to soften the blow.
cushion/soften the blow
to make a difficult experience less unpleasant Free street parking is to be abolished, but residents are being offered reduced price parking permits in an attempt to cushion the blow.See strike a blow for, blow up in face, blow a hole in, blast to kingdom come, blow the lid off, blow own trumpet, blow a raspberry, blow socks off, let off steam