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caress

[kuh-res]
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noun
  1. an act or gesture expressing affection, as an embrace or kiss, especially a light stroking or touching.
verb (used with object)
  1. to touch or pat gently to show affection.
  2. to touch, stroke, etc., lightly, as if in affection: The breeze caressed the trees.
  3. to treat with favor, kindness, etc.

Origin of caress

1605–15; < French caresse < Italian carezza < Vulgar Latin *caritia, equivalent to Latin cār(us) dear + -itia suffix of abstract nouns; cf. charity
Related formsca·ress·a·ble, adjectiveca·ress·er, nounca·ress·ing·ly, adverbun·ca·ressed, adjectiveun·ca·ress·ing, adjectiveun·ca·ress·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. pat, fondling, hug.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for caressed

caress

noun
  1. a gentle touch or embrace, esp one given to show affection
verb
  1. (tr) to touch or stroke gently with affection or as with affectionthe wind caressed her face
Derived Formscaresser, nouncaressingly, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from French caresse, from Italian carezza, from Latin cārus dear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for caressed

caress

v.

1650s, from French caresser, from Italian carezzare "to cherish," from carezza "endearment" (see caress (n.)). Related: Caressed; caressing.

caress

n.

1640s, "show of endearment, display of regard," from French caresse (16c.), back-formation from caresser or else from Italian carezza "endearment," from caro "dear," from Latin carus "dear, costly, beloved" (see whore (n.)). Meaning "affectionate stroke" attested in English from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper