• WordNet 3.6
    • n softener a substance added to another to make it less hard
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from silkworm cocoons. For about 3,000 years, the Chinese kept this discovery a secret. Because poor people could not afford real silk, they tried to make other cloth look silky. Women would beat on cotton with sticks to soften the fibers. Then they rubbed it against a big stone to make it shiny. The shiny cotton was called "chintz." Because chintz was a cheaper copy of silk, calling something "chintzy" means it is cheap and not of good quality.
    • n Softener One who, or that which, softens.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n softener One who or that which softens.
    • n softener Specifically, In ceramics, a broad brush used to spread vitrifiable color thinly and uniformly on the biscuit.
    • ***


  • William James
    “It is well for the world that in most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set like plaster, and will never soften again.”
  • Charles Dickens
    “It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper; so cry away.”
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
    “Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.”
  • George Orwell
    “No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.”
  • Joseph Addison
    “Our friends don't see our faults, or conceal them, or soften them.”
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel in order to be tough.”


In literature:

Royston was watching her narrowly, and his tone softened till it made his simple words a caress.
"Sword and Gown" by George A. Lawrence
At the outer door she paused a moment, and her face softened.
"While Caroline Was Growing" by Josephine Daskam Bacon
The fierceness of their visages was softened, the ardour of their impulse stilled.
"Alroy The Prince Of The Captivity" by Benjamin Disraeli
That kerosene will soften boots and shoes that have been hardened by water and will render them as pliable as new.
"The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing" by Joseph Triemens
Then the sparkling eyes changed, the voice softened.
"Marriage à la mode" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
I could hardly believe it the same face, it softened and transformed it so.
"Ernest Linwood" by Caroline Lee Hentz
The pursed, hurt lines around Tessibel's mouth softened a little.
"The Secret of the Storm Country" by Grace Miller White
Life was softening somewhat, even for childhood, but she did not approve of it.
"A Little Girl in Old Salem" by Amanda Minnie Douglas
Waters vary so in composition, that a material suitable for softening one may not prove to be the best for softening another.
"Human Foods and Their Nutritive Value" by Harry Snyder
I can see the softening in your eye!
"A College Girl" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

In poetry:

"And let them, let them there be pour'd!
Though all unfelt below,
Thine own wrung heart, to love restor'd,
Shall soften as they flow.
"The Kaiser's Feast" by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
The glory of the setting sun
Has sway'd and softened all my mood;
This wayward heart you understood,
Dear love, as you have always done.
"Ralph to Mary" by Amy Levy
Here between the opening branches
Streams a flood of soften'd light,
There the thick and twisted foliage
Spreads the browner gloom of night.
"Verses Written In An Alcove" by Anna Laetitia Aikin Barbauld
Although you return to the city
And mingle again with the throng;
Though your heart may be softened by pity
Or bitter from strife and wrong.
"The Time to Decide" by Bruce Kiskaddon
Oft hadst thou touch'd the female heart,
(To love I ween! and pity true)
Till Mora came to hear thy art ;--
Mora, with eye of softening blue.
"The Harp. A Legendary Tale. In Two Parts" by Hector MacNeill
May came, and on that arch, sweet mouth,
The smile was graver in its play,
And, softening with the softening South,
My April melted into May.
"A Year's Courtship" by Henry Timrod

In news:

The Street's worries about softening semiconductor demand continue to grow.
New Acts Soften Alternative Airwaves.
Adding a transparent layer can soften a room but custom window treatments can cost a fortune.
With congressional opposition softening, UN Ambassador Susan Rice could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 cups flour.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and the nectarines and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the nectarines are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Rising house prices have softened the blow of falling stockmarkets.
A Russian's view on how Van Cliburn, with his musical gifts and personal charm, played a role in softening the Soviets' attitudes toward the US.
You can soften your sweetie with diamonds, but to soften a diamond—the hardest material on Earth—takes some special chemistry.
Cup butter or margarine, softened.
3/4 stick of softened butter.
Re "Obama, GOP soften tone on debt talks" (Page A1, Nov 8): Democrats have the right to be proud of the reelection of President Barack Obama.
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened.
VoIP Innovations Softens the Toughest Aspects of Selecting a DID Origination Provider.
) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened.

In science:

FIG. 3: (color online) Behavior of the random-bond 2d BC model at ∆ = 1.975: (a)-(d): Softening effects on the first-order transition features of the 2d BC model, induced by bond randomness of various strengths.
Strong Violation of Critical Phenomena Universality: Wang-Landau Study of the 2d Blume-Capel Model under Bond Randomness
In particular, we show that both LX and Γ, the slope of the power-law that best fits the 0.5 - 8 keV spectra, are consistent with a clear decline in the accretion power along the sequence, corresponding to a softening of their spectra.
Probing the Balance of AGN and Star-Forming Activity in the Local Universe with ChaMP
Note also that the power-law slope Γ that best fits the X-ray spectra increases from Ss to Ts, to Ls, in both median and average values, showing a tendency of softening of the spectra from Ss to passive galaxies along the proposed sequence (Figure 3).
Probing the Balance of AGN and Star-Forming Activity in the Local Universe with ChaMP
It is interesting to note that a spectral softening with strengthening of the accretion process/rate is also a generally common feature of the X-ray Binaries (XRBs) with reasonably high L/Ledd (e.g., Kubota & Makishima 2004).
Probing the Balance of AGN and Star-Forming Activity in the Local Universe with ChaMP
Note however that, when the Eddington ratio is less than a critical value, L/Ledd . 0.01, i.e., XRBs are observed in their low/hard state, there is a clear trend for softening with further weakening of the accretion rate (Kalemci et al. 2005; e.g., Yamaoka et al. 2005; Yuan et al. 2007).
Probing the Balance of AGN and Star-Forming Activity in the Local Universe with ChaMP