[soo-th ing]


that soothes: a soothing voice.
tending to assuage pain: a soothing cough syrup.

Origin of soothing

First recorded in 1590–1600; soothe + -ing2
Related formssooth·ing·ly, adverbsooth·ing·ness, nouno·ver·sooth·ing, adjectiveo·ver·sooth·ing·ly, adverbself-sooth·ing, adjectiveun·sooth·ing, adjectiveun·sooth·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used with object), soothed, sooth·ing.

to tranquilize or calm, as a person or the feelings; relieve, comfort, or refresh: soothing someone's anger; to soothe someone with a hot drink.
to mitigate, assuage, or allay, as pain, sorrow, or doubt: to soothe sunburned skin.

verb (used without object), soothed, sooth·ing.

to exert a soothing influence; bring tranquillity, calm, ease, or comfort.

Origin of soothe

before 950; Middle English sothen to verify, Old English sōthian, equivalent to sōth sooth + -ian infinitive suffix; Modern English sense shift “to verify” > “to support (a person's statement)” > “to encourage” > “to calm”
Related formssooth·er, nounself-soothed, adjectiveun·soothed, adjective

Synonyms for soothe

Synonym study

1. See comfort, allay.

Antonyms for soothe

1. upset, roil. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for soothing

Contemporary Examples of soothing

Historical Examples of soothing

  • In low and soothing tones, the maiden inquired, "Where did we go, Paralus?"


    Lydia Maria Child

  • A still, pale fog is soothing; it lulls nature to a kind of repose.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • The girls were soothing me and fussing over me when Aunt Frank opened the door.

  • I am glad that there is soothing in these dried leaves for those who require it.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • It was soothing to his eyes, so used to the darkness of the Nibelungs' cavern.

British Dictionary definitions for soothing



having a calming, assuaging, or relieving effect
Derived Formssoothingly, adverbsoothingness, noun



(tr) to make calm or tranquil
(tr) to relieve or assuage (pain, longing, etc)
(intr) to bring tranquillity or relief
Derived Formssoother, noun

Word Origin for soothe

C16 (in the sense: to mollify): from Old English sōthian to prove; related to Old Norse sanna to assert; see sooth
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 soothing

1590s, "flattering," from present participle of soothe. Sense of "mollifying" is from 1746. Related: Soothingly.



Old English soðian "show to be true," from soð "true" (see sooth). Sense of "quiet, comfort, mollify" is first recorded 1690s, via notion of "to assuage one by asserting that what he says is true" (i.e. to be a yes-man), a sense attested from 1560s (and cf. Old English gesoð "a parasite, flatterer"). Meaning "reduce the intensity" (of a pain, etc.) is from 1711. Related: Soothed; soothing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper