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Soften   /sˈɑfən/  /sˈɔfən/   Listen
Soften

verb
(past & past part. softened; pres. part. softening)
1.
Make (images or sounds) soft or softer.
2.
Lessen in force or effect.  Synonyms: break, damp, dampen, weaken.  "Break a fall"
3.
Give in, as to influence or pressure.  Synonyms: relent, yield.
4.
Protect from impact.  Synonyms: buffer, cushion.
5.
Make less severe or harsh.  Synonyms: mince, moderate.
6.
Make soft or softer.
7.
Become soft or softer.



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"Soften" Quotes from Famous Books



... The room is stark bare, save for two mattresses, a heap of disheveled bed clothes, and two men. The hours are small and the dim, guarded light, intended to soften, probably intensifies the weirdness of the picture. The suspiciously plain woodwork is enameled in a dull monochrome. The windows are guarded with protecting screens. One man, an attendant, lies orderly on his pallet; the other, a slender figure ...
— Our Nervous Friends - Illustrating the Mastery of Nervousness • Robert S. Carroll

... very clearly-defined belief that something was due to the great office to which he had been elevated. As preliminary, however, to accomplishing what was for the best interests of the people it must not be forgotten that "my first object was to soften down the public mind to its sober senses." That no living man was better qualified for the accomplishment of so praiseworthy a purpose will now appear: "It has been my opinion of my humble self, that whatever small forte I might possess was to conciliate ...
— Something of Men I Have Known - With Some Papers of a General Nature, Political, Historical, and Retrospective • Adlai E. Stevenson

... by Maxime de Brevan was different, and often contradictory even, but by no means more reassuring. His letters portrayed the perplexity and the hesitation of a man who is all anxiety to soften hard truths. According to him, the Countess Sarah and Miss Ville-Handry did not get on well with each other; but he declared he was bound to say that the wrong was all on the young lady's side, who ...
— The Clique of Gold • Emile Gaboriau

... the Cabbage Patch, and it was nearing Christmas again. The void left in Mrs. Wiggs's heart by Jim's death could never be filled, but time was beginning to soften her grief, and the necessity for steady employment kept her ...
— Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch • Alice Caldwell Hegan

... prosperity will appear in its conditioned existence and conditional value. A candle wasting itself before an image will prevent no misfortune, but it may bear witness to some silent hope or relieve some sorrow by expressing it; it may soften a little the bitter sense of impotence which would consume a mind aware of physical dependence but not of spiritual dominion. Worship, supplication, reliance on the gods, express both these things in an appropriate parable. Physical impotence is expressed by man's appeal for help; moral ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... Andy flirted with the proposition, and let his eyes soften appreciably to meet her last sentence and the tone in which she spoke it. "Do you think I could get by with the right line of talk with ...
— The Flying U's Last Stand • B. M. Bower

... sweep of prairie where dawn gave a gray tinge to soften the distance and mark the rounded billows of the ever-rippling grass. He tried to analyze what it was about this world which made it seem so untouched, so fresh and new. There were large sections of his own Terra which had been abandoned after ...
— Star Born • Andre Norton

... Calvinism was shaken, at this time, with a controversy among its professors, of which it is enough to say, that while one party rigidly adhered to the word and letter of the Confession of Faith, and preached up the palmy and wholesome days of the Covenant, the other sought to soften the harsher rules and observances of the kirk, and to bring moderation and charity into its discipline as well as its councils. Both believed themselves right, both were loud and hot, and personal,—bitter with a bitterness only known in religious ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... I will not ask for your help,' she returned, so promptly that he looked quite hurt. And she hastened to soften her words. 'If one makes a mistake of that kind, one must ...
— Lover or Friend • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... the village with his sack, quite at his ease, and demanded of Broadway certain canned delicacies, his appetite seeming to have a finer edge to correspond with his rising courage. He even hinted that Broadway's stock was not very complete, and that some early strawberries might soften a few of the asperities ...
— The Skipper and the Skipped - Being the Shore Log of Cap'n Aaron Sproul • Holman Day

... various changes due to the penetrating heat of the volcanic outflow, so that its surface is metamorphosed as far as that heat reaches. The granite cliff slowly deposits at its base a rock-waste slope to soften the sudden transition from its perpendicular surface to the level plain at its feet. The line where a land-born river meets the sea tends to become a sandbar or a delta, created by the river-borne silt and the wash of the waves, a form intermediate between land and sea, bearing ...
— Influences of Geographic Environment - On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography • Ellen Churchill Semple

... must fall into line with my other clients. Tuppy Glossop was knocking off dinner to melt Angela. Gussie Fink-Nottle was knocking off dinner to impress the Bassett. Aunt Dahlia must knock off dinner to soften Uncle Tom. For the beauty of this scheme of mine was that there was no limit to the number of entrants. Come one, come all, the more the merrier, and satisfaction ...
— Right Ho, Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... is not easy. One's own taste must be the guide regarding strength. Soften and smooth the chocolate with cold water in a jar on the range; pour in boiling water, then add milk, stirring constantly. Serve as soon as it boils. When each cup is filled with the chocolate, place two tablespoons ...
— Favorite Dishes • Carrie V. Shuman

... presence of a resinous oil, an oleaginous material of disagreeable odor and taste called by Peckolt caricin, a fatty acid, papayic acid and a resin. In India the seeds are considered emmenagogue. In some countries they wrap meat in papaya leaves for several hours before eating in order to soften it. For the same purpose they sometimes boil the meat in water containing a few leaves or pieces of the green fruit; some even go to the length of saying that it is only necessary to hang a piece of meat in a papaya tree for a time ...
— The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines • T. H. Pardo de Tavera

... Queen was in prison she had a little baby, and a friend of hers, named Paulina, had the baby dressed in its best, and took it to show the King, thinking that the sight of his helpless little daughter would soften his heart towards his dear Queen, who had never done him any wrong, and who loved him a great deal more than he deserved; but the King would not look at the baby, and ordered Paulina's husband to take it away in a ship, and leave it in the most desert and dreadful ...
— Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare • E. Nesbit

... of individuals and groups to enhance the pleasures and diminish the ills of life, and therefore cannot tend to unselfishness in either individuals or nations. Civilization in the past has not operated to soften the relations of nations with each other, so why should it do so now? Is not modern civilization, with its attendant complexities, rivalries, and jealousies, provocative of quarrels rather than the reverse? In what respect is modern civilization better than past civilization, except in material ...
— The Navy as a Fighting Machine • Bradley A. Fiske

... which she opened to discharge her volley of anathematization, and shut again as the lightning glanced through the aperture, were unable to repel his importunate request for admittance, in a night whose terrors ought to soften all the miserable petty local passions into one awful feeling of fear for the Power who caused it, and compassion for those who were exposed to it.—But Stanton felt there was something more than national bigotry in the exclamations of ...
— The Lock and Key Library • Julian Hawthorne, Ed.

... to let her hear?" suggested Mrs. Merrill; "we cannot very well soften that shock: I talked the matter over a little with Mr. Merrill, and he thinks that we must take time over it, Miss Penniman. Whatever we do, we must ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... sorry," said he, gravely, "that you think me too presumptuous. I must own I had flattered myself, that, to soften the inquietude of an absence, which seems attended by so many inexplicable circumstances, would not have been to incur your displeasure." This seriousness hurt me; and I could not forbear saying, "Can you indeed desire, my Lord, that I should, a second time, expose myself, by an ...
— Evelina • Fanny Burney

... inside the globe—which must be kept at a certain degree to maintain human life—what can we do? We tried bullets. We might as well have used peas and pea-shooters. If our friends try bombs they will still be unsuccessful. If only we could somehow open up the outer rind or soften it, so that our friends could see the inner globe and reach it with ...
— Lords of the Stratosphere • Arthur J. Burks

... sudden pause. I had caught up the letter, and stood near the candle to soften the wax and lift the cover with a small sharp paper-knife, when it flashed on my mind that my cousin would condemn and scorn what I was doing. Unconsciously I must have made him now my standard of human judgment, ...
— Erema - My Father's Sin • R. D. Blackmore

... find that the Bible has not civilized mankind. A book that establishes and defends slavery and wanton war is not calculated to soften the hearts of those who believe implicitly that it is the work of God. A book that not only permits, but commands religious persecution, has not in my judgment developed the affectional nature of man. Its influence has been bad and bad only. It ...
— Men, Women, and Gods - And Other Lectures • Helen H. Gardener

... Dave," replied Robert lightly. "I took your first lesson to heart, learned it, and I've never forgotten it. I'm so calm that I've unfolded my blanket and put it under me to soften the stone." ...
— The Hunters of the Hills • Joseph Altsheler

... and I leave myself, my whole self, with you, to do with as you think best for him. If you think better to have it over at one blow, tell him the worst. The facts are enough if you leave out the excuses. But if you want to soften it for the sake of his faith in general,—isn't there some such idea, that men lose their faith in all women through the fault of one?—why, soften it all you like. Make me the victim of circumstances. I can show you how. I had forgiven myself, you know. I thought I was ...
— A Touch Of Sun And Other Stories • Mary Hallock Foote

... title of the "Scottish Solomon." His general character will be more fully developed as we proceed; and we shall show the perfidy and dissimulation which he practised in carrying out his schemes, and tried to soften down under the plausible ...
— The Star-Chamber, Volume 1 - An Historical Romance • W. Harrison Ainsworth

... allowed her to lift her clasped hands in supplication. Her eyes she could not lift. But neither her agony, nor the lovely features on which it was depicted, nor the slender grace of the form which it convulsed, appeared to soften the obduracy of the young man. He was the personification of ...
— Twice Told Tales • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... girl threw a strange spell over this strong, turbulent man. Her presence alone seemed enough to soften his stubborn will, and he would watch their games for hours, his eyes fixed on her graceful movements. Once, when the ball had fallen into the water, the king sprang in after it, regardless of his costly ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... young men's eyes met over the vessel in silence, Nic's full of angry dislike, Pete's with an appealing, deprecating look, which did not soften Nic's in ...
— Nic Revel - A White Slave's Adventures in Alligator Land • George Manville Fenn

... intended to finish with a collection, and I silently resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold, (about twenty-five dollars). As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the copper; another stroke of his oratory made me ashamed of that, and determined me to give the silver; and he finished so admirably that I emptied my pockets wholly into the collector's dish, ...
— Benjamin Franklin, A Picture of the Struggles of Our Infant Nation One Hundred Years Ago - American Pioneers and Patriots Series • John S. C. Abbott

... Mulholland managed the servants, and enquired into the food. Connie brought books and flowers, and all the Oxford gossip she could collect. Their visit was the brightness of the boy's day, and thanks to them, many efforts were made to soften his calamity. The best musical talent that Oxford could furnish was eager to serve him; and a well-known orchestra was only waiting for the completion of his symphony and the result of his examination to produce the symphony ...
— Lady Connie • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... out before I get home," was his laughing remark as he vaulted into his saddle and dashed off across the fields, where, beneath the warm Kentucky sun, the snow was already beginning to soften. ...
— Bad Hugh • Mary Jane Holmes

... herself in her most proper and patronising manner, Mrs. Morton twisted her fingers into the boy's hand, and, opening the door that communicated with the bedroom, left the brother and sister alone. And then Mr. Morton, with more tact and delicacy than might have been expected from him, began to soften to Catherine the hard ship of the separation he urged. He dwelt principally on what was best for the child. Boys were so brutal in their intercourse with each other. He had even thought it better represent Philip to Mr. ...
— Night and Morning, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... with January, and abolished the old laws with reference to marriage, by which young people had no power of choice; but he decreed that no marriage should take place unless an intimacy had existed between the parties for at least six months. He instituted balls and assemblies, to soften the manners of the people. He encouraged the theatre, protected science, invited eminent men to settle in Russia, improved the courts of justice, established posts and post-offices, boards of trade, a vigorous police, hospitals, and alms-houses. He imported Saxony sheep, erected linen, ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume VIII • John Lord

... Pa-, prefix is one of the most puzzling in its distribution and its phonetic changes. A very large number of the Bantu languages in the north, east and west have a dislike to the consonant P, which they frequently transmute into an aspirate (H), or soften into V, W, or F, or simply drop out. There is too much evidence in favour of this prefix having been originally Pa- or Mpa-pa to enable us to give it any other form in reconstructing the Bantu mother-tongue. Yet in the most ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 3 - "Banks" to "Bassoon" • Various

... spirit of peace within the household dwelt. In Jerry a swift-sent age these years had brought, To soften him, wrought with all the woe at home Such open, gracious dignity, that all For cheer and guidance learned to look to him. But chiefly th' younger Reuben sought his aid, And he with homely wisdom shaped the lad To a life's ...
— Rose and Roof-Tree - Poems • George Parsons Lathrop

... wherein he was wrapped. A thousand knights were again dispatched to the desert, and ordered to spread themselves all around the fountain; but their search was in vain. Bohetzad concealed their want of success from his inconsolable spouse, and endeavoured to soften her ...
— Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers • Various

... astonishment at the other's disclosures. The smoldering fire remained in his eyes, the immobility of his face unchanged. Only when Alan repeated, in his own words, Mary Standish's confession of love at Nawadlook's door did the fighting lines soften about his comrade's ...
— The Alaskan • James Oliver Curwood

... "Soften it, perhaps, depending upon the resistance." Sykes refused to share the other's excitement. "But we ...
— Astounding Stories, February, 1931 • Various

... in these tunnels was of felt and pitch, six-ply felt and seven layers of pitch. The felt was required to be Hydrex, or of equal quality, and the pitch, "Straight run coal-tar pitch which will soften at 60 Fahr., of a grade in which the distillate oils will have ...
— Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, vol. LXVIII, Sept. 1910 - The Bergen Hill Tunnels. Paper No. 1154 • F. Lavis

... did. I could hear the joy in her tone, too. It has been a good time for many, I know, and gladness will soften the hardest and coldest, Joyce. Don't falter because wrong must still be, daughter. People have to be educated in enjoyment as well as in anything else. It may not be one of the first, or best, things ...
— Joyce's Investments - A Story for Girls • Fannie E. Newberry

... defend the absent, without wholly excusing her levity, struck Flora very forcibly. Mrs. Dalton's conduct upon deck had created in her own mind no very favourable opinion of her good qualities. Miss Leigh's remarks tended not a little to soften her disgust and aversion towards that individual, whose attack upon her she felt was as ill-natured, as it was unjust. She was now inclined to let them pass for what they were worth, and to dismiss Mrs. ...
— Flora Lyndsay - or, Passages in an Eventful Life • Susan Moodie

... thou come, O joyous spirit? From realms beyond this human ken, To paint with beauty the earth we inherit, And soften to love the hearts ...
— Atlantic Monthly Vol. 6, No. 33, July, 1860 • Various

... remain on the cloth. However, even without resorting to this, it must be a very poor eye indeed that cannot recognise at once the terrible raw colours of aniline from the soft, delicious tones of vegetable dyes, which time can only soften but ...
— Across Coveted Lands - or a Journey from Flushing (Holland) to Calcutta Overland • Arnold Henry Savage Landor

... rather a trial to his fastidious nerves and refined taste. The drive of between three and four miles in a fly (very different from his own luxurious carriage), through intricate lanes and rural winding avenues, did not tend to soften his acerbities, and I perceived at once, on alighting from the carriage, that the aspect of the place did not ...
— Records of Later Life • Frances Anne Kemble

... face, his breathing was quick and rasping. The admiral's heart went out to him in sympathy, but he had to keep on. Now, though, he tried to soften ...
— Man of Many Minds • E. Everett Evans

... does not go. At that point, we are Negroes, members of a vast historic race that from the very dawn of creation has slept, but half awakening in the dark forests of its African fatherland. We are the first fruits of this new nation, the harbinger of that black to-morrow which is yet destined to soften the whiteness of the Teutonic to-day. We are that people whose subtle sense of song has given America its only American music, its only American fairy tales, its only touch of pathos and humor amid its mad money-getting plutocracy. ...
— The Conservation of Races - The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers No. 2 • W. E. Burghardt Du Bois

... hair in desperation, and to swear that no man in the world had ever touched her lips; in vain, did she exclaim indignantly that it was impossible that such a dreadful thing could be; that the man had made a mistake or was joking with them. In vain, did she try to calm them, and to soften them by her entreaties; they turned away their heads, and had only one reply ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... Amelia!" screamed the lady, in a voice that resounded through the Gardens. "Oh, my darling, try to soften his hard heart; pray him that he make an honest ...
— Danger! and Other Stories • Arthur Conan Doyle

... zenith, these strong shadows gradually disappear, and the whole group is veiled by an aerial vapour of a much deeper azure than that of the lower regions of the celestial vault. These vapours, circulating around the rocky ridge, soften its outline, temper the effects of the light, and give the landscape that aspect of calmness and repose which in nature, as in the works of Claude Lorraine and Poussin, arises from the harmony of ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V2 • Alexander von Humboldt

... Miss Barrett. She took her friend so far into her confidence as to speak plainly of the household difficulties caused by her father's autocratic temper. The conversation was immediately followed by a letter in which she endeavoured to soften or qualify the impression her words had given, and her heart, now astir and craving sympathy, led her on to write of her most sorrowful and sacred memories—those connected with her brother's death. Browning was ...
— Robert Browning • Edward Dowden

... casuist at the Bar. Appear in public as an individual authority, not one of that nameless troop of shadows contemned while dreaded as the Press. Write for renown. Go into the world, and make friends. Soften your rugged bearing. Lift yourself above that herd whom you call "the people." What if you are born of the noble class! What if your career is as gentleman, not plebeian Want not for money. Use what I send ...
— Lucretia, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... All things change and glide, Corrupt and crumble, suffer wreck and decay, But, obstinate dark Integrities, you abide, And obey but them who obey. All things else are dyed In the colours of man's desire: But you no bribe nor prayer Avails to soften or sway. Nothing of me you share, Yet I cannot think you away. And if I seek to escape you, still you are there Stronger than caging pillars of iron Not to be passed, in an air Where human wish and word ...
— Miscellany of Poetry - 1919 • Various

... hidden in the tangled golden red hair which fell in floods about her. The perfect oval of her cheek, the long wet lashes, the arched eyebrows, the low broad forehead, the straight nose, the saucy chin—all presented a picture of beauty and pathos sufficient to soften a heart of stone. Mary had no heart of any sort, therefore she was not moved to pity. That emotion, I am sure, she never felt from the first to the last day of her life. She continued to probe Dorothy's wound until I told her the girl was asleep. I changed Dorothy's position and placed her head ...
— Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall • Charles Major

... you know that I am tempted to find fault with you, and if you take this too much to heart, I do not know what I would not do to soften the situation. But I know you are strong minded. Your first feelings of displeasure past, you will soon see that the best thing you can do is to come down to the quality of friend, a position which we have so generously offered ...
— Life, Letters, and Epicurean Philosophy of Ninon de L'Enclos, - the Celebrated Beauty of the Seventeenth Century • Robinson [and] Overton, ed. and translation.

... determinations of the Lords; and we do not think such a mode of proceeding at all justified by the most numerous and the best precedents. None of these sentiments is the Committee, as I conceive, (and I feel as little as any of them,) disposed to retract, or to soften in the smallest degree. ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XI. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... British sea-power, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, which, between them, narrowed the French line of communication with Canada into a single precarious strait. The New England indemnity was meant, in the first instance, to be a payment for service done. But it was also intended to soften colonial resentment at the giving up of Louisbourg. A specially gracious royal message was sent to 'The Council and Assembly' of Massachusetts, assuring them, 'in His Majesty's name, that their conduct will always entitle them, ...
— The Great Fortress - A Chronicle of Louisbourg 1720-1760 • William Wood

... yet small; but the following year one cluster alone will weigh some sixty or more pounds. Even in the South they are always cut down when green, as they lose much of their flavor when left to ripen or soften on ...
— Scientific American, Vol.22, No. 1, January 1, 1870 • Various

... austere face did not soften as Father Anselm's had done. The Cistercian monk, true to the severity of his order, permitted nothing of pleasure to appear in his face as he looked at the youth whose character he had done so much to form. He did not even raise his hand at once in the customary ...
— In the Days of Chivalry • Evelyn Everett-Green

... and duty And scatter the kisses of love at his feet; 'Tis a world that is wild with the laughter of living When hands do the brotherly kindness they can, And its hearts are the treasures of tenderness giving To soften and sweeten the nature ...
— Oklahoma and Other Poems • Freeman E. Miller

... surrender;" when General Churchill said: "You see, sir, that we are in their power, and you may surrender." Deshler turned to his staff-officers and ordered them to repeat the command to "stack arms," etc., to the colonels of his brigade. I was on my horse, and he was on foot. Wishing to soften the blow of defeat, I spoke to him kindly, saying that I knew a family of Deshlers in Columbus, Ohio, and inquired if they were relations of his. He disclaimed any relation with people living north of the Ohio, in an offensive tone, and I think I gave him ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... you take it? There was a chance for me once, you said; is it impossible to recall it? Never shake your head, but hear me: say you will hear me a year hence. If I come back to you and bring you fame, will that please you? If I do what you desire most—what he who is dead desired most—will that soften you?" ...
— Henry Esmond; The English Humourists; The Four Georges • William Makepeace Thackeray

... he realised that he had been deceived. His wife, in whom he had so trusted, had loved another before him; and at the bitter truth, John Ashford utterly broke down, and, hiding his face in the counterpane, sobbed like a child. Tears sometimes are Nature's own medicine, and do more to soften the heart than any words. After the first shock had worn away, Ashford commenced to look back on the happy days he had spent with Lucy; the way she had worked with him, and for him. These thoughts ...
— Adrien Leroy • Charles Garvice

... falsely misrepresent her actions, and misinterpret her purposes? Her mind went staggering back over the past, seeking for means of self-justification and defense. She had only meant to benefit him—to amplify and soften his character—to inspire him with more ideal views and aims; and to do this she had—what? Sophie paused, and shuddered. Could it, after all, be true? Had she, forgetful of maidenly modesty and reserve, opened to this man's eyes her secret ...
— Bressant • Julian Hawthorne

... after the example of his predecessors in Greece, would have employed the Drama to wear out of our minds everything that is mean or little, to cherish and cultivate that Humanity which is the ornament of our nature, to soften Insolence, to soothe Affliction, and to subdue our minds to the dispensations of ...
— An English Garner - Critical Essays & Literary Fragments • Edited by Professor Arber and Thomas Seccombe

... without an escort? She had not given it a thought. Surely one might go about a matter of business without a gentleman's escort? The Fremont girls did so. That it might be improper had not occurred to her, and it vexed her to be reminded of it by Hugh, so his well-meant offer failed to soften her. ...
— Miss Dexie - A Romance of the Provinces • Stanford Eveleth

... the opinion of Leo, who consulted him on private and public affairs before anyone else. He placed him in the senate, the first time that the bishop had sat there. Acacius is said to have used his influence with Leo to soften a severe temper, to restore many persons to his favour, to obtain the recal of many from banishment. He took special care of the churches, and of the clergy serving them, and they in return put his portrait everywhere. ...
— The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI - The Holy See and the Wandering of the Nations, from St. Leo I to St. Gregory I • Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies

... carcass any blood and dirt is washed from the fur, the flesh side well salted, rolled up and left 12 to 48 hours. Then thoroughly beam or scrape down the inside of the skin, removing all flesh, fat and muscles. Skins already dry may be placed either in clear water or tan liquor until they soften up. It takes longer to soften in the tan, but if put in water it must be watched or the hair will start, especially in ...
— Home Taxidermy for Pleasure and Profit • Albert B. Farnham

... gentleman rather ugly than handsome and rather poor than rich. But his ugliness was to be nobly expressive and his poverty delicately proud. She had a fortune of her own which, at the proper time, after fixing on her in eloquent silence those fine eyes that were to soften the feudal severity of his visage, he was to accept with a world of stifled protestations. One condition alone she was to make—that he should have "race" in a state as documented as it was possible to have it. On this she would stake her happiness; and it was so to happen that several ...
— Madame de Mauves • Henry James

... Julius, inheritor of great Iuelus' name. Him one day, thy care done, thou shalt welcome to heaven loaded [290-321]with Eastern spoils; to him too shall vows be addressed. Then shall war cease, and the iron ages soften. Hoar Faith and Vesta, Quirinus and Remus brothers again, shall deliver statutes. The dreadful steel-riveted gates of war shall be shut fast; on murderous weapons the inhuman Fury, his hands bound behind him with an hundred ...
— The Aeneid of Virgil • Virgil

... sent her to me, the governor of a distant dependency, the man whom they knew she had wickedly wronged, being certain that her tongue, which it was said could turn the hearts of all men, would never soften mine. Then afterwards they would declare that the warrant was a forgery, that I had but wreaked a private vengeance upon an ancient foe, and, to still the scandal, degrade me from my governorship—into some place of greater ...
— The Wanderer's Necklace • H. Rider Haggard

... authority at your feet. We are made of different tempers, that our defects may be mutually supplied. Your sex wanteth our reason for your conduct, and our strength for your protection; ours wanteth your gentleness to soften, and entertain us. The first part of our life is a good deal subjected to you in the nursery, where you reign, without competition, and by that means, have the advantage of giving the first impressions. Afterwards you have stronger influences, ...
— The Young Maiden • A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey

... Lancashire countryside. He could tell a story in dialect admirably. And I realized that he had thought much—in his balanced, reticent way—on matters in which I was then groping: how to humanize the relations between employer and employed, how to enrich and soften the life of the workman, how, in short, to break down the barrier between modern industrialism and the stored-up treasures—art, science, thought—of man's ...
— A Writer's Recollections (In Two Volumes), Volume II • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... single me out and stigmatize me as the proper object of disgrace, or how the merit of so many of my friends who are acting in their support, and whom they might think it possible would feel hurt, did not, in their prudential light, tend to soften the rigour of their aversion towards me, does, I confess, puzzle me. I don't exactly know from what particular quarter the blow comes; but I must think Lord Bute has, at least, a share in it, as, since his ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3 • Horace Walpole

... would send whatever she could get. I used to borrow a mule from one of the neighbors to ride to see him. Sometimes when my medicine gave out and I had to go without any money, I would pray to God the whole distance that he might soften the doctor's heart so that he would let me have my medicine. I don't know whether my prayers were needed or not, but I do know that the doctor always treated me kindly and finally he told me that I could be treated whenever my medicine gave out, money or no money. He treated me in this way until ...
— Twenty-Five Years in the Black Belt • William James Edwards

... had been begun while Mary was dying, had since her death been, in external show at least, completed. This was one of those occasions on which Sunderland was peculiarly qualified to be useful. He was admirably fitted to manage a personal negotiation, to soften resentment, to soothe wounded pride, to select, among all the objects of human desire, the very bait which was most likely to allure the mind with which he was dealing. On this occasion his task was not difficult. He had two excellent assistants, ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 4 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... lines of her profile against the blue sea, he remembered, with a thrill that was sweet to his vanity, how twice—under the dome of the Scalzi and in the streets of Genoa—he had seen those same lines soften at his approach, turn womanly, pleading and almost humble. That ...
— The Glimpses of the Moon • Edith Wharton

... the mean tyrant who ruled in Spain. And here, at last, he was at peace, or would have been but for the thought of this woman—this Marquise de Chantenac—who had gone to such lengths in her endeavours to soften his exile that her ultimate object could never have been in doubt to a coxcomb, though it was in some doubt to Antonio Perez, who had been cured for all time of Coxcombry by suffering and misfortune, to say nothing of increasing age. It was when he bethought ...
— The Historical Nights' Entertainment • Rafael Sabatini

... all patent rights, but exclusive of lime mixing tanks, agitators, lime water and softening tanks, engine and boiler, and suitable buildings, the cost of which would not be far short of L5,000, or a total of L11,400 to soften 2,000,000 gallons per 24 hours. The labor and other working expenses in connection with this plant would not be less than that necessary to work the Porter-Clark process, which is given as O.55d. per ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 841, February 13, 1892 • Various

... to soften or palliate the fact, that nothing would reconcile Miss Templeton and her sister to such a marriage; that her brother's character was regarded by them with abhorrence; that their cherished brother should marry the sister of a billiard-marker—a mere adventurer and gambler—was ...
— Herb of Grace • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... the Middle Ages. The race—depend on't—the race was unbeautiful; and not even the picturesque dress of the period (which, according to your theory, should have helped to make the wearers of it more attractive) could soften ...
— In the Days of My Youth • Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards

... gentlemen, they were condemned as guilty of high treason, the punishment deferred till the king's pleasure should be known; and thereafter their punishment was made banishment, that the cruel sentence might somewhat seem to soften their severe punishment, as the king ...
— Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies) • John Howie

... doctor, who was utterly confounded at her behaviour, and returned her melancholy fourfold; at length, after a good many piteous sighs, she wiped her eyes, and accosted him thus: "What! not one word of comfort? Will nothing soften that stony heart of thine? Not all my tears! not all my affliction! not the inevitable ruin thou hast brought upon me! Where are thy vows, thou faithless, perjured man? Hast thou no honour—no conscience—no remorse for thy perfidious ...
— The Adventures of Roderick Random • Tobias Smollett

... the grim eyes now, though the even, stern voice did not soften. "I never knew myself. I didn't name it Eight Colors. Maybe it's the original ...
— The Colors of Space • Marion Zimmer Bradley

... successfully. It was out of this incident that the strange story which follows arose. It would not have been easy to tell that story without relating the episode just concluded; and when one has to be tragic it is well to soften the horrors by a little love-making, or some other such emollient. I regret to say that the little Greek girl—who was tyrannously pretty by the way—was as thorough-paced a little flirt as ever yet the psychic philosopher dissected. She had very large eyes, and very pretty lips, and a very ...
— An Old Meerschaum - From Coals Of Fire And Other Stories, Volume II. (of III.) • David Christie Murray

... every issue. No matter to what extremes the organs of this or that opinion may go, they will never go quite far enough to please the purists on their own side; even as the portrayer of this magnificent personage is pretty certain to be accused of exaggeration, whereas he has done his best to soften down some of the cruder tones and dim the more startling tints ...
— The Jealousies of a Country Town • Honore de Balzac

... inscrutable green eyes to his lazy blue ones. Mrs. Vandervelde had prevailed upon her to retain her own fashion of wearing her hair in plaits wound around her head, and the new maid had managed to soften the severity of the style and so heightened its effectiveness. A small string of black pearls was around her throat, and pendants of the same beautiful jewels hung from her ears. Berkeley Hayden started, and his eyes widened. Mrs. Vandervelde, who ...
— The Purple Heights • Marie Conway Oemler

... our friends or acquaintances, we should never communicate bad news abruptly; but should lead the way to it in such a manner as to soften the blow. A great deal of pain may be avoided by a proper choice ...
— Frost's Laws and By-Laws of American Society • Sarah Annie Frost

... the bitumen used by the Egyptian artists has ever been known to soften after this great ...
— The Vanishing Man • R. Austin Freeman

... it but us?' You see, there is no medium in her mind between china and crystal and cracked earthenware. Well, I'm wondering how all these laws of the Medes and Persians are going to work when the children come along. I'm in hopes the children will soften off the old folks, and make ...
— Household Papers and Stories • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... which they had been familiar in their early days in Spain. They remembered decorations in Catalonia, Cantabria, Mallorca, Burgos, Valencia, and sought to imitate them; having neither exactitude nor artistic qualities to fit them for their task. No amount of kindliness can soften this decision. The results are to be regretted; for I am satisfied that, had the fathers trusted to themselves, or sought for simple nature-inspirations, they would have given us decorations as admirable as their architecture. What I am anxious to emphasize in this criticism is the principle ...
— The Old Franciscan Missions Of California • George Wharton James

... the appeal of Christ's love hardens where it does not soften. That gentle voice drove the traitor nearer the verge over which he fell into a gulf of despair. It should have drawn him closer to the Lord, but he recoiled from it, and was thereby brought nearer destruction. Every pleading of Christ's grace, whether by providences, or by books, ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Matthew Chaps. IX to XXVIII • Alexander Maclaren

... having been cut off, the beads are now rolled in fine sand, which has been carefully heated in earthen jars, until just warm enough to soften the outside of the glass, so that a gentle friction would rub off the sharp edges. The sand gets into the holes in the beads, prevents them from closing up during this process, and ere we can believe it possible, they come forth round, perfect, and complete. The larger and smaller ...
— Little Folks (July 1884) - A Magazine for the Young • Various

... feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to soften our slavish dependence, and despising that weak elegancy of mind, exquisite sensibility, and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be the sexual characteristics of the weaker vessel, I wish to show that ...
— A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - Title: Vindication of the Rights of Women • Mary Wollstonecraft [Godwin]

... working for his life. Tools were improvised. So energetically did the soldiers work that the road rapidly grew before them. As it was cut into the rock it was supported by solid foundations below. Many ancient authors say that Hannibal used vinegar to soften the rocks, but this we have no ...
— Historic Tales, Volume 11 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality • Charles Morris

... for an image, madam, in one word, To show you as the lightning night reveals, Your error and your perils: you have erred In mind only, and the perils that ensue Swift heels may soften; wherefore to swift heels Address your ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... in a favorite author, and, going to the shelves, takes down the volume to read it aloud with decorous emphasis. If we are in the atrium (where we like him best) he has an anecdote to tell of all the great Greeks and Romans whose busts or statues are ranged about us, and who for the first time soften from their marble alienation and become human. It is this that makes him so amiable a moralist and brings his lessons home to us. He does not preach up any remote and inaccessible virtue, but makes all his lessons of magnanimity, self-devotion, ...
— The Function Of The Poet And Other Essays • James Russell Lowell

... candidate. Whoever you nominate, men of the convention, shall receive our heartiest and most earnest efforts for their success. But we beg to submit that in Governor Hayes you have those qualities which are calculated best to compromise all difficulties, and to soften all antagonisms. He has no personal enemies: His private life is so pure that no man has ever dared to assail it. His public acts throughout all these years have been above suspicion even. I ask you, then, if, in ...
— The Life, Public Services and Select Speeches of Rutherford B. Hayes • James Quay Howard

... herself. She knew that Mary was a cripple, but did not know how far her cousin was disfigured by her infirmity; and when she saw a pale-faced little woman, somewhat melancholy, but yet pretty withal, with soft, clear eyes, and only so much appearance of a stoop as to soften the hearts of those who saw her, Clara was agreeably surprised, and felt herself to be suddenly relieved of an unpleasant weight. She could talk to the woman she saw there, as to any other woman, without the painful necessity of treating her always as an ...
— The Belton Estate • Anthony Trollope

... realized that they were looking into the cold steel muzzles of 45-calibre revolvers, for there was no concealing the money-or-your-life inference of the message. I had honestly tried to soften the blow as well as I could, but all they could see was 50,000 shares more at something like a million dollars less than its market value—or in twenty-four hours a panic and no market for their stock at any price. What could they do? With perspiration streaming in big ...
— Frenzied Finance - Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated • Thomas W. Lawson

... there is in them," said Alex. "It takes some sort of grease to soften up a hide after it has been dried. The Injuns always said they could tan a hide with the brains of the animal. Sometimes in tanning a buffalo hide, however, they would have marrow and grease and scraps thrown ...
— The Young Alaskans on the Trail • Emerson Hough

... these engines for the working of artillery. Cardan's reply of March 19, 1539, is friendly—too friendly indeed—and the wonder is that Tartaglia's suspicions were not aroused by its almost sugary politeness. It begins with an attempt to soften down the asperities of their former correspondence, some abuse of Giovanni Colla, and an apology for the rough words of his last epistle. Cardan then shows how their misunderstanding arose chiefly from a blunder made by Juan Antonio in delivering the message, ...
— Jerome Cardan - A Biographical Study • William George Waters

... their raptures o'er some specious rhime Dub'd by the musk'd and greasy mob sublime. 96 For spleen's dear sake hear how a coxcomb prates As clam'rous o'er his joys as fifty cats; "Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, To soften rocks, and oaks"—and all the rest: 100 "I've heard"—Bless these long ears!—"Heav'ns what a strain! Good God! What thunders burst in this Campaign! Hark Waller warbles! Ah! how sweetly killing! Then that inimitable Splendid Shilling! Rowe breathes all Shakespear here!—That ode of Prior 105 ...
— Essays on Taste • John Gilbert Cooper, John Armstrong, Ralph Cohen

... Ancient Mariner." The mediaeval feeling is most successfully captured in this poem. It recalls the old "Debate between the Body and Soul," and still more the touches of divine compassion which soften the rigours of Catholic theology in the legends of the saints. It strikes the keynote, too, of that most modern ballad mode which employs the narrative only to emphasize some thought of universal application. There is salvation for all, is the thought, even for the blackest soul ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... person who received the greatest injuries that ever any received, and to whom the greatest indignities were done, and who endured the greatest contradiction of sinners, if his calm composed temper do not soften our spirits, mitigate our sharpness, and allay our bitterness, I know not what can do it. I do not think but if any man considered how much long suffering God exercises towards him, how gentle and patient he is, after so many provocations, ...
— The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning • Hugh Binning

... and he had spent the time between Euston and Willesden in saying all he could to harden my brother's heart and set him against me. That is what I fancy, for I had never found him so impossible to soften or to move. I tried this way and I tried that; I pictured his future in an English gaol; I described the sorrow of his mother when I came back with the news; I said everything to touch his heart, but all ...
— Tales of Terror and Mystery • Arthur Conan Doyle

... press for tuition tax credits to expand opportunities for families and to soften the double payment for those paying public school taxes and private school tuition. Our proposal would target assistance to low- and middle-income families. Just as more incentives are needed within our schools, greater competition is needed among our schools. ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... of his money-box, he is merely bored, being as yet unable to unlock the box and get the coin out again, owing to ignorance of the whereabouts of the key. I explained all this to the telegraph boy, but his heart didn't soften; so, still parleying with him in the porch, I sent the maid to my wife to see what she could do ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, July 15, 1914 • Various

... of saying to ourselves, as we are too apt to do, 'This is what I like, and done it shall be,' we would generously and courteously think more of what other people like; what will please them, instruct them, comfort them, soften for them the cares of life, and lighten the burden of mortality—how much happier would not only they be, ...
— The Good News of God • Charles Kingsley

... to flutter with fear. She dared not tell the sad truth at once, but she walked after Tom in trembling silence as he went out, thinking how she could tell him the news so as to soften at once his sorrow and his anger; for Maggie dreaded Tom's anger of all things; it was quite a different ...
— The Mill on the Floss • George Eliot

... the army and the navy to the Catholic; let him purchase at the same price as the Protestant (if either Catholic or Protestant can purchase such refined pleasures) the privilege of hearing Lord Castlereagh speak for three hours; keep his clergy from starving, soften some of the most odious powers of the tithing-man, and you will for ever lay this formidable question to rest. But if I am wrong, and you must quarrel at last, quarrel upon just rather than unjust grounds; divide the Catholic and unite the ...
— Peter Plymley's Letters and Selected Essays • Sydney Smith

... expectoration of hardened mucus; or which lessen the friction of the contents in the intestinal canal in dysentery or aphtha, as calcined hartshorn, clay, Armenian bole, chalk, bone-ashes. Fifthly, such things as soften or extend the cuticle over tumors, or phlegmons, as warm water, poultices, fomentations, or by confining the perspirable matter on the part by cabbage-leaves, oil, fat, bee's-wax, plasters, ...
— Zoonomia, Vol. II - Or, the Laws of Organic Life • Erasmus Darwin

... had marked 240 In life or nature of those charms minute That win their way into the heart by stealth (Still to the very going-out of youth), I too exclusively esteemed that love, And sought that beauty, which, as Milton sings, 245 Hath terror in it. [E] Thou didst soften down This over-sternness; but for thee, dear Friend! My soul, too reckless of mild grace, had stood In her original self too confident, Retained too long a countenance severe; 250 A rock with torrents roaring, with the clouds Familiar, and a favourite ...
— The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. III • William Wordsworth

... me. Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, Elect above the rest; so is my will: The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd Their sinful state, and to appease betimes The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace Invites; for I will clear their senses dark, What may suffice, and soften stony hearts To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent, Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. And I will place within them as ...
— Paradise Lost • John Milton

... shameful that a daughter should so hate the father that begat her; and I know the angels weep to see her desire that the great and noble prince should be cast down and slain by his enemies. But, sir, it were the better task to seek to soften her mind. Such knowledge as I have of goodly writers should aid me rather to persuade her heart towards her father; for I know no texts that should make me skilful as a spy, but I can give you a dozen from Plautus alone ...
— The Fifth Queen • Ford Madox Ford

... one lb. Spikenard Root, one lb. Yellow Dock Root. Boil in two gallons of water down to one, then press the strength out of the bark and roots and boil the liquid down to one-half gallon. Add 8 lbs. of best Resin, one lb. Beeswax, and Tallow enough to soften. Apply to the sores, etc., ...
— One Thousand Secrets of Wise and Rich Men Revealed • C. A. Bogardus

... three or four months from the time of planting, and are then gathered by the women. Only the inside seeds are eaten (not the pod); and even these are so hard that twenty—four hours' boiling does not soften them—indeed, they are ...
— The Mafulu - Mountain People of British New Guinea • Robert W. Williamson

... he declined the salutation of his friends by arriving in the night; and went by night, as he was commanded, to the palace. There, after being received with a slight embrace, but not a word spoken, he was mingled with the servile throng. In this situation, he endeavored to soften the glare of military reputation, which is offensive to those who themselves live in indolence, by the practice of virtues of a different cast. He resigned himself to ease and tranquillity, was modest in his garb and equipage, ...
— The Germany and the Agricola of Tacitus • Tacitus

... Mrs. Ashleigh the magistrate's anger was more decidedly manifested. He ceased his visits; and in answer to a long and deprecatory letter with which she endeavoured to soften his resentment and win him back to the house, he replied by an elaborate combination of homily and satire. He began by excusing himself from accepting her invitations, on the ground that his time was valuable, his habits domestic; and though ever willing to sacrifice both time and habits where ...
— A Strange Story, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... himself very hard. There is not much weathering on the surface of an asteroid. Micro-meteorites soften the contours of the rock a little over the millions of millennia, but not much, since the debris in the Belt all has roughly the same velocity. Collisions do occur, but they aren't the violent smashes that make the brilliant meteor displays of Earth. ...
— Anchorite • Randall Garrett

... to soften and refine manners by the stress which it laid upon such "Christian" virtues as humility, tenderness, and gentleness. By dwelling on the sanctity of human life, Christianity did its best to repress the very common practice ...
— EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY • HUTTON WEBSTER

... is soft. After a while it goes into a state of rigidity known as rigor mortis. Then it begins to soften again. This third stage is really a form of decay, called ripening. It is believed that the lactic acid formed is one of the principal agents producing this softening. Some people enjoy their meats, especially that of fowls and game, ripe enough to deserve the name of rotten. ...
— Maintaining Health • R. L. Alsaker

... go, no more to be remembered and thought of than if I had never existed. How different it would be if I were the leader! Zounds, how I would worry the witnesses, browbeat the evidence, cajole the jury, and soften the judges! If the Lord were, in His mercy, to remove old Mills and Kinshella before Tuesday, who knows but my fortune might be made? This supposition once started, set me speculating upon all the possible chances that might cut off two king's counsel in three days, and left me fairly convinced ...
— Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 1 (of 2) • Charles Lever

... yield to your wishes. It is the privilege of the women whom we love more than they love us to make the men who love them ignore the ordinary rules of common-sense. To smooth the frown upon their brow, to soften the pout upon their lips, what obstacles we miraculously overcome! We shed our blood, ...
— The Lily of the Valley • Honore de Balzac

... the hearts that love us—a world which for him, the multi-millionaire, was just a tiny village with one sweet woman living in it—resembled a garland of flowers flung down from the rocks as though to soften their ruggedness,—a garland broken asunder at the shoreline, even as all earthly garlands must break and fade at the touch of the first cold wave of the Infinite. As for the further road in which he was about to turn and go, that, to his fancy, was a nearer similitude of an approach ...
— The Treasure of Heaven - A Romance of Riches • Marie Corelli

... itself in the floods of electric light as large and undeniably ugly. Built before artistic ambitions and cosmopolitan architects had undertaken to soften American angularities, it was merely a commodious building, ample enough for a dozen Hitchcocks to loll about in. Decoratively, it might be described as a museum of survivals from the various stages of family history. ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... for it a good name from the critics. It was truly an innocent affair and an unpretending performance. But notwithstanding these, at least seeming, qualities of young doubtfulness and timidity, they did not soften the austere nature of the bleak and blighting criticism which was ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... beneficent influence upon the minds of men there is felt, for a little time at least, the sense that all humanity is one; that the strife of man against man and nation against nation is but a pitiful thing, and that we may better concern ourselves with trying to make the common lot brighter and so soften the rigors of the ...
— The True Story of Our National Calamity of Flood, Fire and Tornado • Logan Marshall

... said I:—"She must know it sooner or later: you cannot keep it long from her, and the intelligence may break upon her in a more startling manner than if imparted by yourself; for the accents of those we love soften the harshest tidings. Besides, you are depriving yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep hearts together—an unreserved community of thought and feeling. She will soon perceive that something ...
— Life and Literature - Over two thousand extracts from ancient and modern writers, - and classified in alphabetical order • J. Purver Richardson

... opened to favorite hymns, especially some of the Methodist and Quietist character. Many had noticed, that certain tunes, as sung by the choir, seemed to impress her deeply; and some said, that at such times her whole expression would change, and her stormy look would soften so as to remind them of her ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 7, Issue 41, March, 1861 • Various

... generally in the most luxuriant honey-blossomed clover—and all without working? Mr. Lush had passed for a scholar once, and had still a sense of scholarship when he was not trying to remember much of it; but the bachelor's and other arts which soften manners are a time-honored preparation for sinecures; and Lush's present comfortable provision was as good a sinecure in not requiring more than the odor of departed learning. He was not unconscious of being held kickable, but he preferred counting that estimate ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... said Faith, "and think you do your friend injustice. The idea is, that the guardian genius exercised a controlling influence over the destiny of the young man; and I see no reason why if we concede the power to the genius to soften his nature, we may not grant also ...
— The Lost Hunter - A Tale of Early Times • John Turvill Adams



Words linked to "Soften" :   tone down, dampen, deafen, change intensity, truckle, dull, blunt, mollify, change, damp, weaken, stand, mute, macerate, modify, muffle, softener, deaden, mellow, break, sharpen, alter, harden, cushion, relent



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