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I'm looking for an active verb which means something along the lines of "to take or find peace in" something. Something like soothe is the opposite of what I want, in the sense that the something is the thing doing the soothing. e.g.,

The river soothed him.

But I would want "him" to be the subject. This would result in...

He was soothed by the river.

...but this is passive rather than active. Is there such an active verb? A single word that means something like "find peace in" in the following?

I find peace in the trickling of the river.

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1  
I'm inclined to think that there isn't a non-reflective verb for this. It seems like you essentially want [subject] [active-verb] [causation noun]'... by definition, the subject invokes, so it would have to be reflexive to emphasize the "order of operations", so to say. Good question -- really made me think. I'm curious if there is such a non-reflexive construct out there now. –  emragins Apr 5 at 0:37

9 Answers 9

If you're committed to a single word, I would look at the reflexive verbs lull, quiet, or ease. Soothe would work.

The resulting sentence would be something like,

"I lull myself by the river."

"She quiets herself by the river."

But, if you want a single unreflexive verb, I would use unwind or relax (somewhat obvious).

"I unwind by the river."

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+1 These aren't bad. They don't quite give the connection to the river, though, since the self becomes the direct object and the river becomes part of a prepositional phrase. The river sort of becomes incidental. –  Jeff Gohlke Apr 4 at 18:46
    
@JeffGohlke I was worried about that, but couldn't find a better single word :/ –  jboneca Apr 4 at 18:48

Consider "I drift away in the trickling of the river"

and "I float away in the trickling of the river."

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I would worry that these phrases in this context could be taken to mean someone literally floating/drifting away in a river as opposed to something metaphorical unless that was made clear by context. –  Vality Apr 5 at 3:54

One obvious one that hasn't been mentioned here is rested.

He rested to the trickling of the brook.

Granted, I find the to to be a little bit awkward, but it helps emphasize that the rest achived was due to the trickling of the water rather than simply resting physically by or physically in the water.

A more metaphorical option would be commune. Generally this means something along the lines of "intimate communication," but since the trickling of the water is a much more nebulous concept it invokes (at least in my mind) some concept of the subject finding peace or attaining some sort of peaceful mental state:

He communed with the steady trickling of the water by the brook.

Hope those help, but I don't think they're any better (or worse) than what's been suggested already.

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Looking at your comments above, I realize you're looking for a transitive verb where the river's the direct object. Both of these connect with river via a prepositional phrase, so it may not be what you're looking for... –  atanamir Apr 5 at 7:35
    
Actually, "communed" is quite nice. I'll have to think on that one. I think it conveys what I'm looking for fairly well. –  Jeff Gohlke Apr 6 at 0:52

You could use the verb comfort but would need to add a reflexive, such as himself.

Improve the mood of or restore a sense of well-being to:

While not a single word (and no more succinct than find peace), the phrase take comfort conveys a similar meaning.

Interestingly, the term self-soothe is used to describe the beahvior of infants who can calm themselves without adult intervention.

SUPPLEMENT: You also might consider metaphorical terms such as melted, flowed, merged, floated, glided, dwelt, none of which convey his literal action, but a figurative approach to his feelings.

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"Lose" may work, as in "He lost himself in the trickling murmer of the river."

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Still reflexive though eh? –  GreenAsJade Apr 6 at 12:25

I am tranquilized (or calmed) by the trickling of the river.

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Still passive, unfortunately. :( He was tranquilized/calmed by the river. –  Jeff Gohlke Apr 4 at 18:44

Contemplate

— vb

  1. to think about intently and at length; consider calmly

  2. ( intr ) to think intently and at length, esp for spiritual reasons; meditate

see reference. Scroll down to World English Dictionary.

This word implies calm.

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Lethe is defined as peace of mind

[> ...Greek word, meaning "oblivion" or "forgetfulness." It was also the

name of the river that flowed through Hades (the underworld of Greek mythology). Souls who drank from the river would forget all they had known in their past lives.

...When the speaker talks about "Lethean peace," he is imagining the comfort that will come with being able to forget his pain.]1

&

Ataraxic peace of mind

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How about Harmony? Or something to that effect.

I and the trickling river were in harmony. Or something to that effect.

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"I harmonize with the river" actually isn't half bad, though if the river is turbulent and violent, it wouldn't have a peaceful connotation. Haha. +1 –  Jeff Gohlke Apr 4 at 19:48
    
@JeffGohlke You could harmonize with the sounds of the river. As an idea. –  Tucker Apr 4 at 19:50

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