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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



... held. But on reflection, he realized that didn't make sense. If that were the case, Doctor Arnquist would have said so, and directed him to report to a ship. More likely, he thought, the Black Doctor wanted to see him only to soften the blow, to help him face the decision that ...
— Star Surgeon • Alan Nourse

... flag, was taken aboard the Golden Hind, and, with all his crew, given a splendid banquet by his English foes. After this the millions and millions of treasure were loaded aboard the Golden Hind, and the Spaniards were given handsome presents to soften their hard luck. Then they and their empty treasure ship were allowed to ...
— Flag and Fleet - How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas • William Wood

... two mighty agencies, not merely "the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples," but the very mountains themselves, are inevitable victims. Not merely storms and hurricanes, but every gentle shower, every fall of snow, tends to soften our scenery and lower the mountain peaks. These agencies are absent from the Moon, and the mountains stand to-day just as they were ...
— The Beauties of Nature - and the Wonders of the World We Live In • Sir John Lubbock

... word I'm really sorry our boys have to work to-morrow as usual. Ah! it's hard to be poor, JONES! A merry Christmas to us all. Here's my carriage come for me." And even in returning to their homes from their daily avocations, on Christmas Eve, how the most grasping, penurious souls of men will soften to the world's unfortunate! Who is this poor old lady, looking as though she might be somebody's grandmother, sitting here by the wayside, shivering, on such an Eve as this? No home to go?—Relations all dead?—Eaten nothing in two days?—Walked ...
— Punchinello Vol. 1, No. 21, August 20, 1870 • Various

... with grandeur, paint everything expressed, soften the shades of those which are of least importance, collect all into one point of view, and carry the reader thither ...
— A Lute of Jade/Being Selections from the Classical Poets of China • L. Cranmer-Byng

... scans thy beauty, a world of truth must read; Of life and hope and duty; our help in time of need. And I have read them often, those words so true and clear, What heart that would not soften, ...
— Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore • Pauline Lester

... no wise admitted the correctness of the President's statement of our conversations, though, to soften the evident contradiction my statement gave, I said (alluding to our first conversation on the subject) the President might have understood me the way he said, namely, that I had promised to resign if I did not resist the reinstatement. I ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 2 (of 2) of Volume 6: Andrew Johnson • James D. Richardson

... Fancy departs: no more invent; Contract thy firmament To compass of a tent. There's not enough for this and that, Make thy option which of two; Economize the failing river, Not the less revere the Giver, Leave the many and hold the few, Timely wise accept the terms, Soften the fall with wary foot; A little while Still plan and smile, And,—fault of novel germs,— Mature the unfallen fruit. Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires, Bad husbands of their fires, Who when they gave thee breath, Failed to bequeath The needful sinew ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... benign, O Goddess! wear, Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there, To soften, not to wound, my heart: The generous spark extinct revive; Teach me to love and to forgive; Exact my own defects to scan; What others are to feel, and ...
— Poetical Works of Johnson, Parnell, Gray, and Smollett - With Memoirs, Critical Dissertations, and Explanatory Notes • Samuel Johnson, Thomas Parnell, Thomas Gray, and Tobias Smollett

... without intending to bring on any summer at all. In the whole month of May the sun scarce appeared three times. So that the early fruits came to the fullness of their growth, and to some appearance of ripeness, without acquiring any real maturity; having wanted the heat of the sun to soften and meliorate their juices. I saw the dropsy gaining rather than losing ground; the distance growing still shorter between the tappings. I saw the asthma likewise beginning again to become more troublesome. I saw the midsummer ...
— Journal of A Voyage to Lisbon • Henry Fielding

... her manners were gaining the finish that they had once perhaps lacked; in fact, she had found out that Sydney set a high value on social distinction and prestige; and, resolving to please him in this as in everything else, she had set herself of late to soften down any girlish harshness or brusquerie, such as Lady Pynsent used sometimes to complain of in her, and to develop the gracious softness of manner which Sydney liked ...
— Name and Fame - A Novel • Adeline Sergeant

... but yesterday," said Father Time, and his voice seemed to soften with the memory of bygone years. "I ...
— Frenzied Fiction • Stephen Leacock

... taste but few of its sweets, would naturally feel attachment and respect for that code of morality, which, regarding the many hardships of their station, strove to alleviate its rigours, and endeavoured to soften its asperity. ...
— Sunday Under Three Heads • Charles Dickens

... long as nobody sees 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

... "Oh, no'm," she said, with an effect of seeming to know that her refusal would hurt, and with the wish to soften ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... I know they are in Rome together Looking for Anthony: but all the charmes of Loue, Salt Cleopatra soften thy wand lip, Let Witchcraft ioyne with Beauty, Lust with both, Tye vp the Libertine in a field of Feasts, Keepe his Braine fuming. Epicurean Cookes, Sharpen with cloylesse sawce his Appetite, That sleepe and feeding may prorogue ...
— The First Folio [35 Plays] • William Shakespeare

... reason of its achievements. Among other bits of fatherly counsel was this: "You are too young to write history. Make ready for such an enterprise slowly. Patiently collect your anecdotes and facts. Accept the opinions of other writers with reserve." As if to soften the severity of his advice, there follows a strain of modest self-depreciation: "Would that others had known less of me and I more of myself. Probe diu vivimus; may our descendants so live that they shall speak of me merely as one ...
— The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte - Vol. I. (of IV.) • William Milligan Sloane

... in particular epitomize the record. In 1862 he admitted candidly that the paleontological record as then known, so far as it bears on the doctrine of progressive development, negatives that doctrine. In 1870 he was able to "soften somewhat the Brutus-like severity" of his former verdict, and to assert that the results of recent researches seem "to leave a clear balance in favor of the doctrine of the evolution of living forms ...
— A History of Science, Volume 3(of 5) • Henry Smith Williams

... wood-fire and a most cheering odour of dinner, to which we did full justice, after having got rid of our saturated garments. Next morning we started on our return journey at daybreak, for it was necessary to get over the worst part of the road before the sun had had time to soften the snow, which the night's frost had so thoroughly hardened that we slipped over ...
— Forty-one years in India - From Subaltern To Commander-In-Chief • Frederick Sleigh Roberts

... See what great things they do every day, how much they divide amongst us, with how great crops they fill the earth, how they move the seas with convenient winds to carry us to all shores, how by the fall of sudden showers they soften the ground, renew the dried-up springs of fountains, and call them into new life by unseen supplies of water. All this they do without reward, without any advantage accruing to themselves. Let our line of conduct, if ...
— L. Annaeus Seneca On Benefits • Seneca

... all blank and desolate Was this poor man's earthly state; Hope, toil, content, can soften fate, ...
— The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, January 1844 - Volume 23, Number 1 • Various

... terror of his midnight cries, can move the deepest caves, can shake the very foundations of the earth. "You are able both to call up the spirits that serve you and to act as their cruel and ruthless gaoler. Listen for once to a mother's prayers, and let them soften your heart." ...
— Greek and Roman Ghost Stories • Lacy Collison-Morley

... during the drive home, he hardly saw the forest. Once a birch, whose faint leaves and branches dissolved in a glittering light, drew his thoughts away from Mildred. She lay upon his shoulder, his arm was affectionately around her, and, looking at him out of eyes whose brown seemed to soften in ...
— Celibates • George Moore

... have all the money! The little I have will go, too! We shall be left sitting in the street. And we might have a wooden house in San Francisco, and go to the theatre! Oh, Mother of God, why dost thou not soften the ...
— The Splendid Idle Forties - Stories of Old California • Gertrude Atherton

... and, above all, let the word of God dwell in you richly. Be much engaged in prayer. If troubles rise around you, the delightful thought that you have a Father, a Saviour, in heaven, with whom you are so happy as to hold communion, will not only soften their severity, but in a good degree elevate you ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 7, 1922 • Various

... months did Ellen strive, By every tender care, To soften Edward's grief, and soothe The pain she wish'd ...
— The Keepsake - or, Poems and Pictures for Childhood and Youth • Anonymous

... his impatience to see me in the least slighted by my lady; and I said to Lord Davers, to soften matters, "Never, my lord, were brother and sister so loving in earnest, and yet so satirical upon each other in jest, as my good lady and Mr. B. But your ...
— Pamela (Vol. II.) • Samuel Richardson

... to find lodgings for the night. Knowing the King's hatred for animals, men feared to shelter this caravan. Only when John would pull from his breast the talisman of silver would they soften and yield to his wishes, wondering and almost worshiping, as the farmer had done on that first day. John himself was the most wondering of them all. For he saw no reason why the silver Cross should have such power. Sometimes he wondered if it was bewitched; ...
— John of the Woods • Abbie Farwell Brown

... can't change me. There are various kinds of homely women—some who are hideous in blue maybe, but who soften up in pink. Then there's the one you read about, whose features are lighted up now and then by one of those rare, sweet smiles that make her plain face almost beautiful. But once in a while you find a woman who is ugly in any colour of the rainbow; ...
— Cheerful—By Request • Edna Ferber

... continued the deep voice, "may thy tender mercy and loving kindness visit the heart of our sinning sister here present and soften it, making her obedient to these thy servants, to whom Thou hast committed the ...
— The Secret of the Storm Country • Grace Miller White

... back to Porto Rico all the revenue derived from the customs we levy, does not seem to me to soften our dealings with her people. Our fathers were not mollified by the suggestion that the tea and stamp taxes would be expended wholly for the benefit of the colonies. It is to say: We do not need this money; it is only levied to show that your country is no ...
— Practical Argumentation • George K. Pattee

... the years, and as far as was humanly possible she kept Jase working. She did not soften, except toward Billy Louise, who rode sometimes over from her father's ranch on the Wolverine to the flowery delights of the Cove. The place was a perfect jungle of sweetness, seven months of each year; for Marthy owned and indulged a love of beauty, even if she could not realize her dream ...
— The Ranch at the Wolverine • B. M. Bower

... Although in his pictures there is still evidence of a very clear eye for mountainous formation and the architectonic adornment of the region, yet the monotonous, unnaturally tender and misty coloring indicates the effort to soften and equalize the contrast of forms, while life is introduced into the landscape only by means of the immeasurably rich accessories which make every rock, every valley, and especially the entire river, swarm with people. These are, in truth, cultural ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VIII • Various

... original house was old, but while the fine bay-windows, massive porch, stately gables, and wide staircases, with their carved oak balustrades and pendants, had been preserved untouched, all such modern improvements had been added as would soften off the inconveniences of a less luxurious age. The park itself was remarkable for the size and grouping of its timber, and was well-stocked with deer. A fine sheet of water also spread itself out over ...
— Frank Oldfield - Lost and Found • T.P. Wilson

... this singular courtship had been carried on, I have not been able to learn; nor how she has been able, with the vinegar of her disposition, to soften the stony heart of old Nimrod; so, however, it is, and it has astonished every one. With all her ladyship's love of match-making, this last fume of Hymen's torch has been too much for her. She has ...
— Bracebridge Hall • Washington Irving

... yourself are not entirely free. I know I have been guilty of it in more than one instance to this very person; and I will own I did send Mr Dowling, not on a vain and fruitless enquiry, but to discover the witnesses, and to endeavour to soften their evidence. This, sir, is the truth; which, though I intended to conceal from ...
— The History of Tom Jones, a foundling • Henry Fielding

... and under the breeze of an open window, if possible; make it the day before you use it, and put it on the ice between every "turn," as each rolling out is technically called; then leave it on the ice, as you use it, taking pieces from it as you need them, so that the warmth cannot soften the whole at once, when it would become quite unmanageable. The condition of the oven is a very important matter, and I cannot do better than transcribe the rules given by Gouffe, by which you may test ...
— Culture and Cooking - Art in the Kitchen • Catherine Owen

... the deepest wounds are gradually healed, the keenest griefs are mitigated, and we, in character, feelings, tastes, and pursuits, become such altered beings, that but for some few indelible marks which past events must leave behind them, which time may soften, but can never efface; our very identity would be dubious. Who has not felt all this at one time or other? Who has not mournfully felt it? This trite, but natural train of reflection filled my mind as I approached the domain of Castle Connor some ...
— The Purcell Papers - Volume I. (of III.) • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... for God's sake!" said Errington, in a low tone, resuming his seat. "What can be done to soften this fellow? Ah! Miss Liddell, we are quits now. If you robbed me, I ...
— A Crooked Path - A Novel • Mrs. Alexander

... who had fought his attacking battalions to a standstill for sixty hours and here on his left flank was another Company of Americans who had twice attacked him and seemed never to stay defeated. April sun was likely to soften his winter road to mush very soon and then these Americans and their allies would ...
— The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki - Campaigning in North Russia 1918-1919 • Joel R. Moore

... certainly helped 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 of suicide as well as the frightful evil ...
— EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY • HUTTON WEBSTER

... and all was gay, though there was no butter. Peter Walsh came in while we were at tea, having righted the Tortoise and bailed her out, but he and Joseph Antony Kinsella went off together, which was just as well, for there weren't too many pancakes, and Lord Torrington, when he began to soften down a bit, turned out to be hungry. In the end we all went home together in Joseph Antony Kinsella's big boat, Lord Torrington having put on his clothes again and father's oilskins, which were providentially saved from ...
— Priscilla's Spies 1912 • George A. Birmingham

... very sanctuary. Her every shaft is well directed, every arrow powerfully sent, every shot strikes the bull's eye in its centre. Her words are hailstones rattling fell and fast, but melt into and soften the heart on which they fall. Delusions disappear, cant and want of courtesy become odious, shams grow shameful, while all lovely things bloom lovelier in the light of truth emanating from this large brain, and poured through this living heart. We bask in its sunshine, growing strong and happy as ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 6, No 2, August, 1864 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... Yulia longed to soften the old man, to awaken a feeling of compassion in him, to move him to repentance; but he only listened condescendingly to all she said, as a grown-up person listens ...
— The Darling and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... be hard, Celia; but no one can do it better than you. You will soften the blow. She will realise her debt to you, through me. Tell her that her future shall be cared for—but you know that I shall look after that. Celia, you, who are so quick, so acute, have divined the truth. It was for Miriam that I took on myself the forged cheque. I—cared ...
— The Woman's Way • Charles Garvice

... collected in these volumes, the general verdict of posterity will be sensibly modified. Those who judge him should bear in mind that perhaps no famous life has ever been so thoroughly laid bare, or scrutinised with greater severity. The tendency of biographers is to soften down errors and praise where they can; and in an autobiography the writer can tell his own story. But the assiduous searching out and publication of every letter and diary that can be gathered or gleaned is a different ordeal, which might try the reputation of most of ...
— Studies in Literature and History • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall

... herself, was to be taken from her in early life, and that the springs of all the lighter pleasures were to be thus stopped for her, had it not been well that in her bereavement so much had been done to soften her lot in life and give it grace and beauty? 'Twas so, she argued with herself, and yet she acknowledged to herself that she was not happy. She had resolved, as she herself had said often, to put ...
— The Small House at Allington • Anthony Trollope

... men who make a mock of holy things, Mistaken, and of man's best hope think scorn. The world does much to warp the heart of man; And I may sometimes join its idiot laugh: Of this I now complain not. Deal with me, Omniscient Father, as Thou judgest best, And in Thy season soften thou my heart. I pray not for myself: I pray for him Whose soul is sore perplexed. Shine thou on him, Father of Lights! and in the difficult paths Make plain his way before him: his own thoughts May he not think—his own ends not pursue— So shall ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 5 • Edited by E. V. Lucas

... present at a sermon which, he perceived, was to finish with a collection for an object which had not his approbation. '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. 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 pocket wholly into the ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... old man who said, "How Shall I flee from this horrible Cow? I will sit on this stile, and continue to smile, Which may soften the heart of ...
— The Best Nonsense Verses • Various

... Kaiser's fondness for his wife, nor his anxiety to please her, could soften the anger which he felt against his brother-in-law, and when after a prolonged voyage to India and elsewhere, the duke on landing at Trieste, ran over from there to the neighboring seaside resort of Abbazia, for the purpose ...
— The Secret Memoirs of the Courts of Europe: William II, Germany; Francis Joseph, Austria-Hungary, Volume I. (of 2) • Mme. La Marquise de Fontenoy

... Ingleborough saw much of this, and spent no little time in trying to soften the pangs endured by the brave lads who lay patiently bearing their unhappy lot, suffering the agony of wounds, and many ...
— A Dash from Diamond City • George Manville Fenn

... with ticks should be sponged or dipped at once with one part Pratts Dip and Disinfectant to 20 parts water. Repeat in ten days. This will not only kill the ticks but cure mange, soften the hair and make ...
— Pratt's Practical Pointers on the Care of Livestock and Poultry • Pratt Food Co.

... and he had seen it at St. Johnswort that morning when St. John supposed his house to have been invaded by burglars. He vainly turned over a thousand deprecatory expressions in his mind, with which to soften the blow but he let his letter ...
— Questionable Shapes • William Dean Howells

... cover from the packet, exposing the back of what seemed to be a photograph. Holding this to the light, its face invisible to Amber, he studied it for several minutes, in silence, a tender light kindling in his eyes to soften the almost ascetic austerity of his expression. "In the end, if you live, you shall win a rich reward," he said at length. He placed the photograph face down upon ...
— The Bronze Bell • Louis Joseph Vance

... the others leaned forward and spoke in a lower tone. "This Harrison promised the general to bring back with him the Gringo Yeager. Old Gabriel is crazy to get the Yankee devil in his hands. Not so? Harrison brings him a woman instead to soften his ...
— Steve Yeager • William MacLeod Raine

... his salvation, would have been the very crown and climax of her happiness— but the way of the cross was to be hers. The Father appointed to examine the young candidate thought him disqualified for religion; anxious, however, to soften the pain of an absolute refusal, he suggested that there might be a better chance at a future period, when the novitiate was less crowded. An ever-ruling Providence had destined the youth for another Order, and when God's time came, the disqualifications ...
— The Life of the Venerable Mother Mary of the Incarnation • "A Religious of the Ursuline Community"

... two cantos of the Souvenirs he seemed half ashamed of the homeliness of the tale he had undertaken to relate. Should he soften and brighten it? Should he dress it up with false lights and colours? For there are times when falsehood in silk and gold are acceptable, and the naked new-born truth is unwelcome. But he repudiated the thought, ...
— Jasmin: Barber, Poet, Philanthropist • Samuel Smiles

... if these things, in their benignant, admonishing, reminding beauty, had not restored his decency, he was bound to soften and unbend, when, as they were going over the rustic bridge, Stanny tried to turn himself upside down among the water lilies. And as he captured Stanny by a miracle of dexterity, just in time, he realized, as if ...
— The Combined Maze • May Sinclair

... feel, as I know I say, Thy will be done! Little Ernest is the very picture of health and beauty. He has vitality enough for two children He and his little sister will make very interesting contrasts as they grow older. His ardor and vivacity will rouse her, and her gentleness will soften him. ...
— Stepping Heavenward • Mrs. E. Prentiss

... taken to the capital, Tai-Wan-Foo. The Bengalis were beheaded immediately. It was touch and go whether the white men would suffer the same fate, when a brilliant idea struck the ship's carpenter. Why not seek to soften the hearts of his captors by a kotow as profound as it was novel; why not stand on his head? He did, with the happiest results. The Formosans, delighted with this feat of submission, spared the lives of himself and his companions and kept them in ...
— Sir Robert Hart - The Romance of a Great Career, 2nd Edition • Juliet Bredon

... masters, and without violence, throw both their natural and legal 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 ...
— The Young Maiden • A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey

... 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 ...
— Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 1 (of 2) • Charles Lever

... Dolce has painted for his ivory-toned madonnas,—a face which now seemed ready to expire under the increasing attacks of physical pain. You might have thought her the apparition of an angel sent from heaven to soften the iron will of the ...
— The Hated Son • Honore de Balzac

... that it was all in vain. I am your slave, said he, you may dispose of me as you please: but I declare unto you that I am extremely poor, and not able to redeem myself. In a word, my brother discovered to him all his misfortunes, and endeavoured to soften him with tears; but the Beduin had no mercy; and, being vexed to find himself disappointed of a considerable sum, which he reckoned he was sure of, he took his knife, and slit my brother's lips, to avenge himself, by this ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 • Anonymous

... of washerwomen, all the world over, is the same—that they are kind soft-hearted folks. Possibly the soap-suds they almost live in find their way into their hearts and tempers, and soften them. This Scutari washerwoman is no exception to the rule, and welcomes me most heartily. With her, also, are some invalid nurses; and after they have gone to bed, we spend some hours of the night ...
— Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands • Mary Seacole

... exceedingly; and all the way from the Grange I puzzled my brains how to put more heart into what he said, when I repeated it; and how to soften his refusal of even a few lines to console Isabella. I daresay she had been on the watch for me since morning: I saw her looking through the lattice as I came up the garden causeway, and I nodded to her; but she drew back, as if afraid of ...
— Wuthering Heights • Emily Bronte

... Patty shook her head sadly—"she might think I'd got you to do it. I seen she took it to heart, you're turnin' agin her so, and I didn't believe you'd 'a' done it if you'd known all. I wanted to go up and see yer, for I knew you'd soften, but no, she wouldn't let me. She said she'd never forgive me ef I did. No; she'd think I'd been a puttin' ye up to it." Aunt Patty dried her ...
— Cape Cod Folks • Sarah P. McLean Greene

... flinch. She had listened without a word, with a relentless expression which grew harder and harder as Therese's confessions became precise. No emotion seemed to soften her and no remorse to penetrate her being. At most, towards the end, her thin lips shaped themselves into a faint smile. She was holding her prey in ...
— The Eight Strokes of the Clock • Maurice Leblanc

... the filaments, the finer structure of the lichens is often difficult to study, and free use of caustic potash is necessary to soften ...
— Elements of Structural and Systematic Botany - For High Schools and Elementary College Courses • Douglas Houghton Campbell

... never heard; at the door his smile always faded. In this commercial sanctuary were enforced the exactions that made the plantation thrive. Outside, in the yard, in the "big house," elsewhere under the sky, a plea of distress might moisten his eyes and soften his heart to his own financial disadvantage, but under the moss-grown shingles of the office all was business, hard, uncompromising. It was told in the neighborhood that once, in this inquisition of affairs, he demanded the ...
— An Arkansas Planter • Opie Percival Read

... bits 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, ...
— Little Folks (July 1884) - A Magazine for the Young • Various

... the cap'n had been schoolfellows, though he was older, and often she treated him with scanty ceremony; now, after she had tossed him that aged formula of banter, she laughed to soften it. But ...
— Country Neighbors • Alice Brown

... opposition could be expected from that quarter. The Swedish monarch was rendered propitious to the project by assurances that the house of Hesse-Cassel, of which he was the head, should be elevated into an electorate. They even endeavoured to soften his Prussian majesty, by consenting, at last, that the treaty of Dresden, confirming to him the possession of Silesia, should be guaranteed by the diet of the empire; a sanction which he now actually obtained, ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. - From William and Mary to George II. • Tobias Smollett

... the death of Lohiau, his best friend, Paoa, came before Pele determined to invite death by pouring out the vials of his wrath on the head of the goddess. The sisters of Pele sought to avert the impending tragedy and persuaded him to soften his language and to forego mere abuse. Paoa, a consummate actor, by his dancing, which has been perpetuated in the hula Pele, and by his skillfully-worded prayer-songs, one of which is given above, not only appeased Pele, but ...
— Unwritten Literature of Hawaii - The Sacred Songs of the Hula • Nathaniel Bright Emerson

... me, and seal'd me for perdition..."). However, a benevolent deity touches him with the finger of grace, enabling him to repent ("I wish'd for ease, a moment's ease, that cool repentance and contrition might soften vengeance"). He can now pray for mercy and in his dying moments is vouchsafed assurance of forgiveness ("Yet Heaven is gracious—I ask'd for hope, as the bright presage of forgiveness, and like a light, blazing thro' darkness, ...
— The Gamester (1753) • Edward Moore

... his saints he bless'd, And soften'd every bed; Where should the dying members rest, But with the ...
— Hymns and Spiritual Songs • Isaac Watts

... to her as to a child. She kept her eyes closed, as she had always done when anything overwhelmed her. She lay back on his arm, and he felt her body tremble at the sound of his voice. Her tears seemed to soften her, and from the yielding of her body now he could see how stiffly she must have held herself, and was filled with joy. It had all been for his sake, and with a tremendous effort of her will she had defied fate ...
— Pelle the Conqueror, Complete • Martin Andersen Nexo

... listening. The genuine emotion in Chase's voice was as strong as the ring of truth. Belding knew truth when he heard it. The revelation did not surprise him. Belding did not soften, for he devined that Chase's emotion was due to the probing of an old wound, the recalling of a past both happy and painful. Still, human nature was so strange that perhaps kindness and sympathy might yet have a place in this Chase's heart. Belding did not believe so, but he was willing ...
— Desert Gold • Zane Grey

... as if he knew a good deal; and he was very handsome. Though I hate him, I can't help seeing he is handsome, but cruel and hard—yes, hard as nails, as poor grandfather said. I might as well try to soften that ...
— Bristol Bells - A Story of the Eighteenth Century • Emma Marshall

... yet he had sheer destruction before his eyes, for we ourselves had forewarned him not to slay the king nor wed his wife, or vengeance would come by Atreides' son Orestes, whene'er he should grow to manhood and long for his home. So spake our messenger, but with all his wisdom he did not soften the heart of Aigisthos, and now he has paid in full' (Odyssey, ...
— The Legacy of Greece • Various

... you, His mercy ready for you." You feel too weak to change. Ask God's Spirit to give you a strength of will you never felt before. You feel too proud to change. Ask God's Spirit to humble your proud heart, to soften your hard heart; and you will find to your surprise that when your pride is gone, when you are utterly ashamed of yourself, and see your sins in their true blackness, and feel unworthy to look up to God, that then will come a nobler, holier, manlier feeling—self-respect, and a clear conscience, ...
— Out of the Deep - Words for the Sorrowful • Charles Kingsley

... be ruled against her will. The lever for raising the standard of living was the eight-hour day. Increase the worker's leisure and you will increase his wants; increase his wants and you will immediately raise his wages. Although he occasionally tried to soften his doctrine by the argument that a shorter work-day not only does not decrease but may actually increase output, his was a distinctly revolutionary doctrine; he aimed at the total abolition of profits ...
— A History of Trade Unionism in the United States • Selig Perlman

... for a fresh wound of any kind. In winter, when wormwood is dry, it is necessary to soften it in warm vinegar, or spirit, before it is bruised, ...
— The American Frugal Housewife • Lydia M. Child

... but every year hitherto she had knocked at that door in vain; her father was inexorable. Her brother, her only means of communication, had not come to see her for four years, and had sent her no assistance; yet she prayed to God to unseal her father's eyes and to soften her brother's heart, and no accusations mingled with her prayers. Mme. Couture and Mme. Vauquer exhausted the vocabulary of abuse, and failed to find words that did justice to the banker's iniquitous conduct; but while they heaped execrations on the millionaire, Victorine's words were ...
— Father Goriot • Honore de Balzac

... being verily the creator and teacher of iniquity. Thus then she spake with fawning words entangling him, right and left, around with her toils and meshes, and she began to shake the citadel of his soul, and to slacken his tension of purpose, and to soften the temper of his mind. Then the sower of these evil tares, and enemy of the righteous, when he saw the young man's heart wavering, was full of joy, and straightway called to the evil spirits that were with him, crying, "Look you how yond damsel hasteth to bring to pass all that we were unable ...
— Barlaam and Ioasaph • St. John of Damascus

... produce has been much improved, and the demand for it has been steadily growing. Many roasters who formerly used Rios straight for their lower grades, have changed to Victorias, not only to improve the appearance of the roast, but to soften the harsh drinking qualities of the ...
— All About Coffee • William H. Ukers

... coquette. Her delighted conception of herself is that she is the object of every man's admiration. I noticed her this morning playing a tune with her fingers on the old bathing-man's arm, as he was preparing to take her into the water, and I saw his mahogany face soften. In her indescribable childish way she would coquet with a tax-collector or a rag-and-bone man or the Archbishop of Canterbury. But she has committed no grave indiscretion, and I am sufficiently her lord ...
— The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne • William J. Locke

... really could not: besides, she could not, in justice and politeness to the other friends who were to be in her house, suffer them to be exposed to such torments. Lady Mary Crawlev did not give herself any trouble to soften her expressions, because she would have been really glad if they had given offence, and if Mrs. Germaine had resented her conduct, by declining to pay that annual visit which was now become, in the ...
— Tales & Novels, Vol. 2 • Maria Edgeworth

... believe she is right," Mrs. Flaxman said, with an air of sudden conviction. "We are not half thankful enough for our blessings and persist in wearing the peas in our shoes for penance, when we might as well soften them like that wise-hearted Irishman. It would be a blessing if Medoline had medicine for other griefs ...
— Medoline Selwyn's Work • Mrs. J. J. Colter

... thing that you can do, you see, is to leave your family and come and live with me. At first we will go away from Paris; you can be confined in the country. We can put the child out to nurse; they will take care of the little brat, of course. And later, perhaps, my mother will soften and will understand that we must marry. No, truly, the more I think of it, the more I believe that that is the best way to do. Yes! I know very well it will be hard to leave your home, but what can you do, my darling? You can write your ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... which one might have expected from a poet. Rather it is the design of a man endowed with a genuine artistic temperament, but with a strange desire to leave some showy and tangible memorial of his labours. His ambition is not to stir men's souls with profound thought, or to soften by some new harmonies the weary complaints of suffering humanity, but to startle the world by the splendid embodiment in solid marble of the most sumptuous dreams of a cultivated imagination. Contarini ...
— Hours in a Library - New Edition, with Additions. Vol. II (of 3) • Leslie Stephen

... despair of Iroquois Annie. She is the only thing I can get in the way of hired help out here, and yet she is hopeless. She is sullen and wasteful, and she has never yet learned to be patient with the children. I try to soften and placate her with the gift of trinkets, for there is enough Redskin in her to make her inordinately proud of anything with a bit of flash and glitter to it. But she is about as responsive to actual kindness as a diamond-back ...
— The Prairie Mother • Arthur Stringer

... your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you—alas, it is true of almost every one of us! Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and as it were to guide us. Woe to him who offends a child! Father Anfim taught me to love children. The kind, silent man used often on our wanderings to spend the farthings given us on sweets and cakes for the children. He could not pass by a child without emotion. That's ...
— The Brothers Karamazov • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... were to each other, that only they two should ever exactly understand. It was a tone that always softened Gypsy, in her gayest frolics, in her wildest moods. For the first time since she had known Peace, it failed to soften her now. ...
— Gypsy's Cousin Joy • Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

... you thinking of?' 'My dear Garens, you can do this quite well. It will even be very funny. We are well bred, by jove! and we will put on our most distinguished manners and our grandest style. Tell the Abbe who we are, make him laugh, soften him, seduce him and persuade ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Vol. 1 (of 8) - Boule de Suif and Other Stories • Guy de Maupassant

... memories of fleshly limitation and untruth. To survive, she had been forced to lock her heart; to hold every hope in the cold white fingers of fear; cruelly to curb the sweep of feminine outpouring, lest its object soften into chaos; and roused womanhood, returning empty—overwhelm. This is the sorriest ...
— Fate Knocks at the Door - A Novel • Will Levington Comfort

... himself) was not really pretty at all, only so full of expression, changing with every breath of feeling. The eyes, which had only been brown a moment before, leaped up into globes of light, yet not too dazzling, with some liquid medium to soften their shining. Even though you know that a girl is in love with another man, that she thinks of you no more than of the old gardener who has just hobbled round the corner, it is pleasant to be able to change the whole aspect of affairs to her ...
— The Marriage of Elinor • Margaret Oliphant

... As well try to soften a sphinx. Sinclair carried the dripping bucket on the side nearest the girl and thereby gained valuable distance. "I'm mighty glad it's you and not one of the rest," confided Sally, still ...
— The Rangeland Avenger • Max Brand

... introduced to her as Miss Gerhardt, who knew what the Kane family thought. Of course her present position, the handsome house, the wealth of Lester, the beauty of Vesta—all these things helped to soften the situation. She was apparently too circumspect, too much the good wife and mother, too really nice to be angry with; but she had a past, and that had ...
— Jennie Gerhardt - A Novel • Theodore Dreiser

... shake No. 6's faith in her own wisdom, a good effect would be produced by listening to it. Also it was not a bad thing now and then to hear of other people having to bear trials which have not fallen to our own lot. It must surely have a tendency to soften the heart, and make us feel more dependent upon the God who gives and takes away. On the whole, therefore, she would tell the story, so she made No. 6 sit quietly down again, ...
— Aunt Judy's Tales • Mrs Alfred Gatty

... remnant that would come back. And then the Black Burgundians, the horrible English ogres, whose names would make the children shudder! No God-den(2) had got so far as Domremy; there was no personal knowledge to soften the picture of the invader. He was unspeakable as the Turk to the imagination of the French peasant, ...
— Jeanne d'Arc - Her Life And Death • Mrs.(Margaret) Oliphant

... 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?" ...
— The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. • W. M. Thackeray

... Surangama, what freedom! It is my defeat that has brought me freedom. Oh, what an iron pride was mine! Nothing could move it or soften it. My darkened mind could not in any way be brought to see the plain truth that it was not the King who was to come, it was I who ought to have gone to him. All through yesternight I lay alone on the dusty floor before that window—lay there through the desolate hours and wept! All ...
— The King of the Dark Chamber • Rabindranath Tagore (trans.)

... defiant face—with a face which showed premonitions of exultation. Farnsworth felt sure of his game, but he found breathing so laborious that he did not show any emotion. Masters thought it best to soften the humiliation of his associate as much as possible by forestalling his proposition. So at the first moment he suggested to the directors that the bank needed new force, on account both of his own advancing years and of Mr. Farnsworth's ill-health, much aggravated by his excessive ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston



Words linked to "Soften" :   mollify, mellow, harden, modify, blunt, stand, mute, truckle, sharpen, dull, tone down, muffle, macerate, change intensity, change, deafen, deaden, alter



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