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Related to softening: Water softening, softening point

soften the blow

To make something easier, more manageable, or 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.
See also: blow, soften

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 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

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.