One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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
British informal nobble
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