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4 definitions found
 for softening
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Softening \Sof"ten*ing\,
     a. & n. from Soften, v.
     [1913 Webster]
     Softening of the brain, or Cerebral softening (Med.), a
        localized softening of the brain substance, due to
        hemorrhage or inflammation. Three varieties, distinguished
        by their color and representing different stages of the
        morbid process, are known respectively as red, yellow, and
        white, softening.
        [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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.
         [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.
         [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]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      adj 1: having a softening or soothing effect especially to the
             skin [syn: demulcent, emollient, salving,
      n 1: the process of becoming softer; "refrigeration delayed the
           softening of the fruit"; "he observed the softening of iron
           by heat"

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  126 Moby Thesaurus words for "softening":
     abatement, abating, allaying, allayment, alleviating, alleviation,
     alleviative, allowance, altering, analgesia, analgesic, anesthesia,
     anesthetic, anesthetizing, anodyne, appeasement, assuagement,
     assuaging, assuasive, attenuation, attrition, balmy, balsamic,
     benumbing, blunting, bounding, calming, cathartic, chastening,
     cleansing, color, cushioning, dampening, damping, deadening,
     debilitation, decontamination, demulcent, demulsion,
     devitalization, dilution, diminishing, diminishment, diminution,
     dulcification, dulling, ease, easement, easing, effemination,
     emollient, enervation, enfeeblement, evisceration, exhaustion,
     extenuating, extenuating circumstances, extenuation, extenuative,
     extenuatory, falling-off, fatigue, gilding, gloss, hushing,
     inanition, languishment, laxation, leniency, lenitive, lessening,
     letdown, letup, lightening, limitative, limiting, loosening,
     lulling, mellowing, mitigating, mitigation, mitigative, mitigatory,
     modificatory, modifying, modulation, modulatory, mollification,
     mollifying, numbing, pacification, padding, pain-killing,
     palliation, palliative, purgative, qualification, qualificative,
     qualificatory, qualifying, quietening, quieting, reducing,
     reduction, relaxation, relaxing, relief, relieving, remedial,
     remedy, remission, restricting, restrictive, salving, slackening,
     softening-up, soothing, subduement, subduing, tempering, thinning,
     tranquilization, varnish, weakening, whitewash, whitewashing

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