One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘he could reduce interest rates to soften the blow of tax increases’
alleviate, ease, relieve, soothe, take the edge off, assuage, allay, dull, cushion, lessen, moderate, temper, mitigate, palliate, diminish, decrease, blunt, deaden, abate, tone down
2‘the winds softened’
die down, abate, subside, moderate, let up, calm down, lessen, grow less, decrease, diminish, slacken, dwindle, weaken
1‘they used long-range shelling to soften up defensive positions’
weaken, undermine someone's resistance, reduce someone's defensive capability
2‘he would soften up potential buyers in the pub before a sale’
charm, win over, persuade, influence, undermine someone's resistance, disarm, work on, sweeten, butter up, soft-soap
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