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[kuhm-fer-ting] /ˈkʌm fər tɪŋ/
affording comfort or solace.
Origin of comforting
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at comfort, -ing2
Related forms
comfortingly, adverb
uncomforting, adjective


[kuhm-fert] /ˈkʌm fərt/
verb (used with object)
to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to:
They tried to comfort her after her loss.
to make physically comfortable.
Obsolete. to aid; support or encourage.
relief in affliction; consolation; solace:
Her presence was a comfort to him.
a feeling of relief or consolation:
Her forgiveness afforded him great comfort.
a person or thing that gives consolation:
She was a great comfort to him.
a cause or matter of relief or satisfaction:
The patient's recovery was a comfort to the doctor.
a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety:
He is a man who enjoys his comfort.
something that promotes such a state:
His wealth allows him to enjoy a high degree of comfort.
Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a comforter or quilt.
Obsolete. strengthening aid; assistance.
1175-1225; (v.) Middle English comfortien, variant of confortien, conforten < Anglo-French, Old French conforter < Late Latin confortāre to strengthen, equivalent to con- con- + -fortāre verbal derivative of Latin fortis strong; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the v.
Related forms
comfortless, adjective
uncomforted, adjective
Can be confused
comfit, comfort.
1. pacify, calm, solace, gladden. 1, 2. ease.
Synonym Study
1. Comfort, console, relieve, soothe imply assuaging sorrow, worry, discomfort, or pain. To comfort is to lessen the sadness or sorrow of someone and to strengthen by inspiring with hope and restoring a cheerful outlook: to comfort a despairing person. Console, a more formal word, means to make grief or distress seem lighter, by means of kindness and thoughtful attentions: to console a bereaved parent. Relieve means to lighten, lessen, or remove pain, trouble, discomfort, or hardship: to relieve a needy person. Soothe means to pacify or calm: to soothe a child. 8. See ease. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for comforting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She offered him the comforting directness which she might have given Bill.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • How neat she was, how thrifty, how comfortable, and how comforting!

    The Village Watch-Tower (AKA Kate Douglas Riggs) Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • But then he, too, felt such need of some comforting illusion!

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • Well, the minister would help him; that was a comforting thought.

    The Elm Tree Tales F. Irene Burge Smith
  • Their vse is much in ornament, and comforting the spirits, by the sence of smelling.

    A New Orchard And Garden William Lawson
British Dictionary definitions for comforting


a state of ease or well-being
relief from affliction, grief, etc
a person, thing, or event that brings solace or ease
(obsolete) support
(usually pl) something that affords physical ease and relaxation
verb (transitive)
to ease the pain of; soothe; cheer
to bring physical ease to
Derived Forms
comforting, adjective
comfortingly, adverb
comfortless, adjective
comfortlessly, adverb
comfortlessness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French confort, from Late Latin confortāre to strengthen very much, from Latin con- (intensive) + fortis strong
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
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Word Origin and History for comforting



late 13c., conforten "to cheer up, console," from Old French conforter "to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen," from Late Latin confortare "to strengthen much" (used in Vulgate), from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis "strong" (see fort). Change of -n- to -m- began in English 14c. Related: Comforted; comforting.



c.1200, "feeling of relief" (as still in to take comfort in something); also "source of alleviation or relief;" from Old French confort (see comfort (v.)). Replaced Old English frofor. Comforts (as opposed to necessities and luxuries) is from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with comforting
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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