[saw-fuh-ner, sof-uh-]


  1. any admixture to a substance for promoting or increasing its softness, smoothness, or plasticity.
  2. water softener.
a person or thing that softens.

Origin of softener

First recorded in 1600–10; soften + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for softener

Historical Examples of softener

  • But time is a sure healer of wounds; a softener of resentment.

  • You will note that this softener also contains a percentage of grime which lodges in the pores.

    The Trap

    Betsy Curtis

  • "We have known each other since we were children," Honor put in as a softener.

    Banked Fires

    E. W. (Ethel Winifred) Savi

  • But distance is a great mellower of colors and softener of fears.

    The Bravo

    J. Fenimore Cooper

  • Ray six, "the softener," was a band of frequencies extending from violet far up into the ultra-violet.

    Skylark Three

    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for softener



a substance added to another substance to increase its softness, pliability, or plasticity
a substance, such as a zeolite, for softening water
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 softener

c.1600, agent noun from soften.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper