soften

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soften the blow

To make the impact of something negative less harmful. The government is introducing financial reliefs to soften the blow to those affected by the devastating floods. Playgrounds typically have sand or rubber grounds to help soften the blow if children fall off the play structures. When you have to tell someone about the death of a loved one, there's really no way to soften the blow.
See also: blow, soften

soften up

1. To become soft or malleable. The rubber seal softens up if the engine gets too hot, so we need to make sure to keep it cool. I keep butter in a dish on the counter so it softens up a bit.
2. To make something soft or malleable. In this usage, a noun can be used between "soften" and "up." You need to heat the glass to high temperatures to soften it up before you can work with it. The sun softened the ground up a bit after being frozen over the winter.
3. To become less resistant or emotionally hardened; to become gentler or more amenable. My dad was a bit of a tyrant when we were kids, but he softened up as he got older. The company's upper management has been notoriously reserved about adopting more mainstream market trends, but they seem to be softening up in recent years.
4. To make someone more amenable to a suggestion or idea. Toddlers are difficult to deal with at the best of times. If you want yours to do something, sometimes softening them up with a small present or treat is the best course of action. Worried about how her mother might react to her new boyfriend, Jane asked her father to soften her up before she brought him over to dinner. I always suggest softening up potential clients with dinner at a nice restaurant.
5. To make someone less tough, focused, determined, skilled, or able-bodied. He used to be the sharpest detective in the force, but years behind a desk in the head office has softened him up. Worried about how her mother might react to her new boyfriend, Jane asked her father to soften her up before she brought him over to dinner.
See also: soften, up

soften (one's or someone's) stance (on something)

1. To become less severe, strict, or inflexible in one's position or beliefs (regarding something). Our dad always said he would never let us have our own phones, but he softened his stance when my sister and I started high school. The senator has indicated that she may be softening her stance on the issue of tax reform.
2. To cause someone else to become less severe, strict, or inflexible in their position or beliefs (regarding something). I've been trying to soften the boss's stance on giving paid parental leave to all new employees. The government was originally adamant in their position on the controversial issue, but the continual protests around the country seem to be softening their stance.
See also: soften, stance

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, stance

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 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 the blow

COMMON If something softens the blow, it makes an unpleasant change or piece of news seem less unpleasant and easier to accept. Attempts were made to soften the blow, by reducing what some people had to pay. Note: You can also say that something cushions the blow. The firm is offering to cushion the blow with a £4,000 cash handout spread over two years.
See also: blow, soften

soften (or cushion) the blow

make it easier to cope with a difficult change or upsetting news.
See also: blow, soften

cushion/soften the ˈblow

make something unpleasant seem less unpleasant and easier to accept: When he lost his job he was offered a cash payment to soften the blow.
See also: blow, cushion, soften

soften up

v.
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 ?
In a previously published article, Chen Gafni and Reuven Tsur (2015) report a study of naive listener responses to softened voice quality in two readings of "Kubla Khan." In addition to such responses to softened voice qualities as "calm, gentle, yearning, affectionate, quiet, and slow," participants provide, to the same items, also such responses as "magical, mysterious, awed, dreamy, and spooky." Part of our explanation was as follows.
According to Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) president and director, Sofyan Basir, the central bank of Singapore, which is known to have one of the most restrictive policies to foreign banks, has softened its stance on Indonesian banks.
In a small mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 3 tbsp.
"To prevent tooth erosion, consume sports drinks in moderation, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, to allow softened enamel to re-harden," Dr.
Though these are a relatively standard housing type, typical of walk-up blocks all over Europe, they are softened and animated by planted pergolas that will progressively flourish and add a living layer of greenery to the architecture.
A Midwest recycler who prefers to do business locally says the PET market has softened somewhat in the last few months because of a glut of material on the market.
Melt a knob of butter in a pan and saute red onion for 5 minutes until softened. For mash, heat butter in a pan and gently fry onion for 2-3 minutes until softened.
"The market has absolutely softened in the last six months," he admitted.
Suffering softens hearts, an ancient proverb tells us, and softened hearts not only yearn for kindness and solace but also become receptive to an understanding of the universe and life that provides real answers about the nature of this universe and, indeed, about the nature of life itself.
Place in a roasting tin, brush with olive oil, and then bake in a preheated oven at Gas mark 6/200 for around 20 minutes or until the peppers are softened and the skin is beginning to blister.
TRINITY Mirror chairman Sir Victor Blank warned City investors yesterday that the newspaper advertising market had softened in the past two months.
Softened somewhat by the tentative beginning of social programs under the New Deal, it was still a hardened America that fought.
The reusable Thermo-Loc is a heat softened material that becomes pliable at 160 degrees, allowing the user to form it like modeling clay around the vice jaws and the gun part.
In other works, albums transmute into vanity corners or odd little shrines that escape modish fey hippiedom by channeling something ancient (think Tupy) while using the magic of today's materials and by paying heed to the particular form of "softened" Minimalism.
The material can be softened and drawn under a vacuum and can extend in the first region.