[ kuh-res ]
See synonyms for: caresscaressedcaressescaressing on

  1. an act or gesture expressing affection, as an embrace or kiss, especially a light stroking or touching.

  2. a light and gentle touch or stroke, or something that passes lightly over a person or thing: Let the gentle caresses of the music carry your worries away.

verb (used with object)
  1. to touch, pat, or stroke gently to show affection.

  2. to touch or seem to touch lightly: The breeze caressed the trees.

  1. to treat with favor, kindness, etc.

Origin of caress

First recorded in 1605–15; from French caresse, from Italian carezza, from unattested Vulgar Latin caritia, equivalent to Latin cār(us) “dear” + -itia suffix of abstract nouns; cf. charity

Other words for caress

Other words from caress

  • ca·ress·a·ble, adjective
  • ca·ress·er, noun
  • un·ca·ressed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use caress in a sentence

  • Seldom did he speak of love, and I remember me of no caresses save a kiss night and morning.

    Balsamo, The Magician | Alexander Dumas
  • I took him up in my arms, and he threw his little hands about my neck, and lavished on me the tenderest caresses.

  • The caresses of harlots and the jests of buffoons regulated the policy of the state.

    English: Composition and Literature | W. F. (William Franklin) Webster

British Dictionary definitions for caress


/ (kəˈrɛs) /

  1. a gentle touch or embrace, esp one given to show affection

  1. (tr) to touch or stroke gently with affection or as with affection: the wind caressed her face

Origin of caress

C17: from French caresse, from Italian carezza, from Latin cārus dear

Derived forms of caress

  • caresser, noun
  • caressingly, adverb

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