[ih-mol-yuh nt]


having the power of softening or relaxing, as a medicinal substance; soothing, especially to the skin: emollient lotions for the face.


an emollient medicine, lotion, salve, etc.

Nearby words

  1. emmylou,
  2. emo,
  3. emocore,
  4. emodin,
  5. emoji,
  6. emolument,
  7. emory,
  8. emory oak,
  9. emote,
  10. emoticon

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for emollient

British Dictionary definitions for emollient



softening or soothing, esp to the skin
helping to avoid confrontation; calming


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 emollient



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

Medicine definitions for emollient




Softening and soothing, especially to the skin.


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.