Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A gentle touch or gesture of fondness, tenderness, or love.
  • transitive v. To touch or stroke in an affectionate or loving manner.
  • transitive v. To touch or move as if with a caress: soft music that caressed the ears.
  • transitive v. To treat fondly, kindly, or favorably; cherish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act or expression of affection; Endearment.
  • n. A gentle stroking or rubbing.
  • v. To touch or kiss lovingly; to fondle.
  • v. To show and act on deep closeness shared with another person.
  • v. To affect as if with a caress.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An act of endearment; any act or expression of affection; an embracing, or touching, with tenderness.
  • transitive v. To treat with tokens of fondness, affection, or kindness; to touch or speak to in a loving or endearing manner; to fondle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bestow caresses upon; fondle.
  • Hence— To treat with fondness, affection, or kindness.
  • n. An act of endearment; an expression of affection by touch, as by stroking or patting with the hand: as, “conjugal caresses,”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a gentle affectionate stroking (or something resembling it)
  • v. touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner

Etymologies

French caresse, from Italian carezza, from caro, dear, from Latin cārus; see kā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French caresse, from Italian carezza ("dear"), from Latin cārus ("dear"), from Proto-Indo-European *kāro- (English whore), akin to Sanskrit काम (kāma, "love"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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