Etymology
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soften (v.)

late 14c., "to mitigate, diminish" (transitive), from soft (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "to make physically soft" is from 1520s; intransitive sense of "to become softer" is attested from 1610s. Soften up in military sense of "weaken defenses" is from 1940. Related: Softened; softening.

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Definitions of soften

soften (v.)
make (images or sounds) soft or softer;
soften (v.)
lessen in force or effect;
soften a shock
Synonyms: dampen / damp / weaken / break
soften (v.)
give in, as to influence or pressure;
Synonyms: yield / relent
soften (v.)
protect from impact;
Synonyms: cushion / buffer
soften (v.)
make less severe or harsh;
Synonyms: mince / moderate
soften (v.)
make soft or softer;
This liquid will soften your laundry
soften (v.)
become soft or softer;
The bread will soften if you pour some liquid on it
From wordnet.princeton.edu