Definition of emollient in English:



  • 1Having the quality of softening or soothing the skin.

    ‘a rich emollient shampoo’
    • ‘Try either of these creams, which are both emollient treatments providing relief from nappy rash without the use of preservatives and steroids that can weaken a baby's soft, delicate skin.’
    • ‘A deliciously rich source of moisture extracted from the fruit of the Karite tree, shea butter is a natural fat that is often used as an emollient base for a variety of hair and skin products.’
    • ‘Avoid soap, which can be drying, and instead wash with aqueous cream or an emollient wash.’
    • ‘In addition to this, liberal use of emollient creams such as aqueous cream is important - at least four times a day, more if possible.’
    • ‘Very occasionally, emollient creams may sting the skin when first applied to very dry skin.’
    • ‘There are several tar based shampoos and emollient preparations that you can buy over - the - counter.’
    • ‘If you have really dry skin, says Rogers, ‘use emollient lotions with humectants such as urea lactate, then apply moisturizing cream to seal in moisture.’’
    • ‘It is an incredibly emollient skin-shielding cream - perfect for preventing chapped skin.’
    • ‘The most likely irritant in emollient creams is the stabiliser propylene glycol.’
    • ‘The steroid should always be applied to the skin first and the emollient moisturizer applied after to all of the skin.’
    • ‘To minimize irritation from shaving, use a new blade and an emollient shave cream that contains moisturizing ingredients.’
    • ‘Sebaceous glands secrete sebum, and in skin they are thought to have bacteriostatic, emollient, and barrier functions in humans.’
    • ‘Almond oil is used as an emollient because of its ability to soften the skin.’
    • ‘The emollient creams make the top layers of skin seem moister for a short time, but the other ingredients are actually drying the skin so you have to use more of the lotion, etc.’
    • ‘A range of shampoos, emollient products and some topical steroid preparations can be bought from pharmacies.’
    moisturizing, palliative, balsamic
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  • 2Attempting to avoid confrontation or anger; calming or conciliatory.

    ‘the president's emollient approach to differences’
    • ‘He found the French in surprisingly emollient mood.’
    • ‘By and large, this approach has proved useful and even emollient.’
    • ‘He subsequently traveled to The Hague to make more emollient, if less publicized, remarks.’
    • ‘The bombings and attempted bombings in London have brought home to the American public that we face implacable enemies unwilling to be appeased by even the most emollient diplomacy.’
    • ‘While adopting the emollient tones of compassionate Conservatism, he has also toned down the virulent anti-Europeanism.’
    • ‘When I talked about security, he gave me an emollient smile and said: ‘I think you'll find it very safe.’’
    • ‘Even the emollient secretary of state, is bitter: he believes they have double-crossed him in the UN Security Council.’
    • ‘What he gets is the poignant, emollient presence of Connelly who looks soulfully at him.’
    • ‘In truth, the party will remain unelectable until it learns how to conduct a conversation with the country, employing a more emollient vocabulary…’
    • ‘At the local carabinieri station, an officer was more emollient: ‘By the end of the month everything should be resolved.’’
    • ‘True, as we said from the start, the minister's emollient words in January had to be set to one side to ensure a seriously flawed and dangerous bill was radically restructured.’
    • ‘He surely must have noticed it but, as the writer suggests, he was probably an emollient sort of character, a man never happy about getting into rows.’
    • ‘It gets Andrew a new editor and the group a much more emollient senior manager who can lift morale.’
    • ‘One diplomat said the anti-war camp in fact raised no objections to his proposal last week partly out of deference to his more emollient tone on their plans for European Union defence.’
    • ‘The noble Lord's emollient talents were therefore deployed to save the stalled bill by cutting a deal with the Tory leader in the lords.’
    • ‘They'll spout a lot of emollient guff and sensible criticism of the government, which you can even find yourself nodding along to when they're on Question Time.’
    conciliatory, conciliating, appeasing, soothing, calming, pacifying, assuaging, placating, mollifying, relaxing, propitiatory
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  • A preparation that softens the skin.

    ‘always moisturize exposed skin with an effective emollient’
    • ‘For great results, use rich emollients or more body oils in addition to moisturizer; they'll offer long lasting, soothing and softening effects for your feet.’
    • ‘Using lotions or emollients as soap substitutes may be helpful.’
    • ‘These cleansers have more emollients, which help the skin retain moisture.’
    • ‘You must have tried the standard treatment with emollients, which soften the skin and increase its water content.’
    • ‘Choose a moisturiser that contains emollients or hyaluronic acid, a natural substance which helps the body's cells retain moisture.’
    • ‘Recurrence of this benign but often malodorous condition is prevented by skin care with emollients.’
    • ‘The use of skin emollients or barrier creams to prevent contact dermatitis is receiving new attention.’
    • ‘Another less well-known ingredient that acts as an emollient and humectant is sorbitol, a sugar-like crystalline derived from certain fruits, such as apples, pears and cherries.’
    • ‘Keeping the skin moisturised between attacks, and including the use of emollients in daily routines can also control eczema.’
    • ‘Also, look for finishing creams with emollients and serums that soften the hair cuticle.’
    • ‘When added in proper concentrations, cetyl or stearyl alcohol may also be incorporated in skin cleansing products as emollients.’
    • ‘A major disadvantage of alcohols is their drying effect, although some newer preparations contain emollients to minimize skin drying.’
    • ‘Keeping areas moisturized with topical emollients or urea can be beneficial.’
    • ‘His advice to fellow sufferers: be meticulous about applying emollients on newly washed skin that is still slightly damp.’
    • ‘Use emollients even when the skin feels better.’
    • ‘Some manufacturers have added emollients to their skin cleansers to enhance washing and rinsing activity and to condition skin.’
    • ‘Other important prevention strategies include proper hygiene and liberal use of emollients to reduce drying and cracking of the skin.’
    • ‘Commonly used in moisturizers, emollients lubricate the skin and give the cosmetic product a smooth, soft feeling.’
    • ‘Shaving creams are made up of oils and emollients that help glide the blade across the skin reducing pain and incidents of cutting.’
    • ‘However, water followed by the application of oil such as a moisturizer (also known as an emollient or lubricant) is of great benefit for dry skin.’
    moisturizer, cream, oil, ointment, rub, lotion, salve, unguent, balsam
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Mid 17th century: from Latin emollient- ‘making soft’, from the verb emollire, from e- (variant of ex- ‘out’) + mollis ‘soft’.