English version

soften somebody/something ↔ up

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsoften somebody/something ↔ up phrasal verb1 informalPERSUADE to be nice to someone before you ask them to do something, so that they will agree to help you She was just softening me up.2 PMto make an enemy weaker so that they are easier to attack Use artillery to soften up the enemy forces.3 to make something less hard or rough soften→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
soften upI can see what they mean about women softening you up.Iced sardines are trodden underfoot to soften them up.It didn't really matter though, because the mulberries softened it up.Here, bacteria get to work on it, softening it up and making it ready for chewing.You want to soften me up, don't you?Psycho-shock, I told myself, a way to soften you up for interrogation.He was beginning to wonder if they weren't already softening him up for some kind of a change.To soften me up for the kill?
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Verb table
soften
Simple Form
Present
I, you, we, theysoften
he, she, itsoftens
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Past
I, you, he, she, it, we, theysoftened
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave softened
he, she, ithas softened
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad softened
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill soften
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have softened
> View Less
Continuous Form
Present
Iam softening
he, she, itis softening
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you, we, theyare softening
Past
I, he, she, itwas softening
you, we, theywere softening
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave been softening
he, she, ithas been softening
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad been softening
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill be softening
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have been softening
> View Less