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[saw-fuh-ner, sof-uh-] /ˈsɔ fə nər, ˈsɒf ə-/
  1. any admixture to a substance for promoting or increasing its softness, smoothness, or plasticity.
  2. water softener.
a person or thing that softens.
Origin of softener
First recorded in 1600-10; soften + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for softener
Historical Examples
  • But time is a sure healer of wounds; a softener of resentment.

  • You will note that this softener also contains a percentage of grime which lodges in the pores.

    The Trap Betsy Curtis
  • "We have known each other since we were children," Honor put in as a softener.

    Banked Fires

    E. W. (Ethel Winifred) Savi
  • But distance is a great mellower of colors and softener of fears.

    The Bravo J. Fenimore Cooper
  • Ray six, "the softener," was a band of frequencies extending from violet far up into the ultra-violet.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
  • Yet the only softener of this man of noble granite was a spirit-like girl, who regarded the love of her womanhood as sin.

    The Story of Tonty Mary Hartwell Catherwood
  • He was the patron deity of blacksmiths, and as the smelter or softener of metal bears also the name of Mulciber.

  • For a softener on heavy weight goods nothing has been found superior to good beef tallow.


    William H. Dooley
  • On light-weight goods the softener giving the most general satisfaction is paraffin.


    William H. Dooley
British Dictionary definitions for softener


a substance added to another substance to increase its softness, pliability, or plasticity
a substance, such as a zeolite, for softening water
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 softener

c.1600, agent noun from soften.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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