The word comfort is often used as a synonym for solace. When one comforts another, perhaps one who is grieving, he will possibly offer perspective or encouragement, or stand by him as a companion or friend, acknowledging their grief.
But comfort has not always had this connotation. Etymologically, comfort means “to strengthen greatly.” Comfort is a compound word originating from the Latin verb confortare. Con- means “with,” but is here doubling as an intensive, i.e. “greatly,” or “much.” Fortare means “to strengthen.”
This definition lends a new perspective to comfort. Comfort is not only an offering of solace in time of trouble or grief, but an offering of strength. This brings it closer to the word encourage, which etymologically means “to en-hearten,” or “to put heart into [someone].” I know I will certainly be thinking about this when I next comfort a friend.