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Related to softening: Water softening, softening point

soften one's stance (on someone or something)

Fig. to reduce the severity of one's position regarding someone or something. If he would soften his stance on the matter, I could easily become more cooperative.
See also: soften

soften someone up

Fig. to prepare to persuade someone of something. I will talk to Fred and soften him up for your request. I will soften up your father before you ask him about it.
See also: soften, up

soften something up

to take actions that will make something softer. soften the butter up before you add it to the batter. Please soften up the ice cream before you try to serve it.
See also: soften, up

soften up

1. Lit. [for something] to become softer. The butter softened up in the heat of the day. The candles will probably soften up and bend over in this hot weather.
2. Fig. [for someone] to adopt a more gentle manner. After a while, she softened up and was more friendly. It was weeks before Ted softened up and treated us more kindly.
See also: soften, up

soften the blow

also 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.
See also: blow, soften

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
See also: blow, cushion

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.
See also: blow, soften

soften somebody/something up

also soften up somebody/something
to weaken someone or something Constant bombing was designed to soften the enemy up and weaken him. The ads were just a way to soften up public opinion to accept a big price increase.
See also: soften, up

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
See also: blow, cushion

soften up

Reduce resistance, as in His sales motto was: a fine lunch and a few drinks often will soften up a prospective customer . This expression transfers lessening of physical hardness to lessening mental resistance. It was first used, however, in World War II, where it meant "reduce the enemy's defenses by preliminary bombing." [c. 1940]
See also: soften, up

soften up

1. To make something soft or softer: He softened up his new baseball glove with some oil. He left the butter out to soften it up.
2. To undermine or reduce the strength, morale, or resistance of someone or something: The air force softened up the enemy positions with a heavy bombing campaign. The children gave me a present to soften me up before asking for new bicycles.
See also: soften, up
References in periodicals archive ?
NuvoH2O water softening systems are a natural fit for our stores and customers," said Tim Hess, appliance and water products buyer at RC Willey.
After a given length of time {usually several minutes), the watch glass is removed, the paint or solvent is wiped off and the softening point or creep behavior of the treated specimen is measured (depending on the specimen size and the instrument used, this may require cutting small pieces from the test area).
And even though the market is softening, the company said that signs of distress have yet to take hold.
Investors will look carefully at the market positions of individual companies, given the uneven softening trend from line to line.
The addition of sugar in pastry recipes is important not only for flavor but for creaming butter, retaining moisture, softening a batter, and giving icing a sturdy texture (Amendola and Lundberg 52).
Avoid: A strong yellow-colored rind, a softening over the entire rind, or mold growth, particularly in the stem scar.
The basic reason for softening water is to avoid the calcium buildup that can plug pipes and damage water heaters, as well as decrease the effectiveness of soaps and detergents.
The contrast to this is a well that initially had low levels of chlorides before a softening system was installed.
This engineered tomato, designed to resist softening, will have the fresh flavor consumers desire and an extended shelf life as well, Calgene contends.
By softening or rehydrating the fruits to restore part or all of their moisture, you can use them in baking, or serve in a variety of ways.
Notwithstanding this, the softening of premium rates in Europe appears to be moderate, and pricing levels remain favourable.
The company's water softening systems and replacement cartridges are now available at Utah region Ace Hardware locations-
This company is said to offer a unique family of light-colored terpene phenolic resins in varying softening point ranges.
Climbing inventories and softening orders could indicate a slowing economy, some vendors say.
I don't believe we should be softening the penalties against those who are driving without a license in the state of California,'' said Sen.