[ih-mol-yuh nt]
  1. having the power of softening or relaxing, as a medicinal substance; soothing, especially to the skin: emollient lotions for the face.
  1. an emollient medicine, lotion, salve, etc.

Origin of emollient

1635–45; < Latin ēmollient- (stem of ēmolliēns) softening up (present participle of ēmollīre), equivalent to ē- e-1 + molli(s) soft + -ent- -ent
Related formse·mol·lience, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for emollience


  1. softening or soothing, esp to the skin
  2. helping to avoid confrontation; calming
  1. any preparation or substance that has a softening or soothing effect, esp when applied to the skin
Derived Formsemollience, noun

Word Origin for emollient

C17: from Latin ēmollīre to soften, from mollis soft
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 emollience



1640s, from French émollient (16c.), from Latin emollientem (nominative emolliens), present participle of emollire "soften," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + mollire "soften," from mollis "soft" (see melt (v.)). The noun is recorded from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

emollience in Medicine


  1. Softening and soothing, especially to the skin.
  1. An agent that softens or soothes the skin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.