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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.
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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.
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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

Related Words

fondlenuzzlepatrubclutchgrazecuddlekissmassagehugpetfeelstrokeembraceendearmentsqueezesnugglepettingfondlingtoy

Examples from the Web for caress

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I will go out of my way to caress one who shows any desire to be friendly.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • He would have taken her in his arms again, but she evaded the caress.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Men in his condition were apt to be as quick with a blow as with a caress.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • A word of consolation, a caress, even from her mother, would have distressed her.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • It had been so long since such a touch had thrilled him, so long since any caress had been given him.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston


British Dictionary definitions for caress

caress

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

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v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper