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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 for caress

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

Related Words for caresses

fondle, nuzzle, pat, rub, clutch, graze, cuddle, kiss, massage, hug, pet, feel, stroke, embrace, endearment, squeeze, snuggle, petting, fondling, toy

Examples from the Web for caresses

Contemporary Examples of caresses

Historical Examples of caresses

  • Fido knew that, for there were caresses in every stroke of the dimpled hands.

  • She aggravated him with all manner of caresses and endearments.

  • In spite of this she was fond of caresses, devoted to her husband, and had several children.

  • Valentine took hold of them, sat them on her lap, and half stifled them with caresses.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola

  • They struggled in this manner with a rattling in their throats, writhing in the horror of their caresses.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for caresses

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 for caress

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 caresses

caress

v.

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

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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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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper