Definition of soft in English:

soft

Line breaks: soft
Pronunciation: /sɒft
 
/

adjective

1Easy to mould, cut, compress, or fold; not hard or firm to the touch: soft margarine the ground was soft beneath their feet
More example sentences
  • The procedure is carried out in babies in their first six months when the ear is extremely soft and easy to mould and can be successful within just a fortnight.
  • So both hard and soft margarines (the latter to a lesser extent) are like saturated fats.
  • She hated his kisses because his lips were always cold and soft to the touch, too soft, not firm like Timothy's.
Synonyms
1.1Having a smooth surface or texture; not rough or coarse: soft crushed velvet her hair felt very soft
More example sentences
  • They captured the glossy surfaces of fruit and fish, and the soft textures of velvet and lace.
  • Slip on one of her soft, smooth, silky pieces and you'll immediately realize why they're so popular.
  • And after all that scrubbing the surface is silky soft and touchy-feely right now.
Synonyms
velvety, smooth, cushiony, fleecy, downy, leathery, furry, silky, silken, satiny, suede-effect
informal like a baby's bottom
1.2(Of a person) weak and lacking courage: soft southerners
More example sentences
  • My old self would have said I was soft and pathetic.
  • They are always soft, irresolute men--homebodies with more dynamic girlfriends or wives.
  • I am soft, centre, wishy-washy new labour and ashamed of it.
1.3(Of a market, currency, or commodity) falling or likely to fall in value: now a new factor looms: soft oil prices the rouble, so soft that it buys nothing worth having
More example sentences
  • By this I am indicating that a soft currency may be acceptable for a while - the question is: For how long?
  • It was simply too easy to run an inefficient operation, as our lack of competitive systems was simply made good by a soft currency.
  • During soft markets, insurers tend to undercut prices for competitive reasons.
2Having a pleasing quality involving a subtle effect or contrast rather than sharp definition: the soft glow of the lamps the moon’s pale light cast soft shadows
More example sentences
  • Contrast is rather soft at times and edge effects are apparent though not distracting.
  • Her darkened skin stood in contrast to the soft glow of the dress as she slipped on the impractical shoes and made her way out of the door.
  • I marvel at such early perception of the subtle line, the power of an arc, a soft shadow that glows darkly under the skin.
Synonyms
2.1(Of a voice or sound) quiet and gentle: they spoke in soft whispers
More example sentences
  • He moved out into the hall as her soft voice sounded behind him, even quieter than usual, as if she were talking to only herself.
  • The mysterious sounds, the soft voices - I enjoy the silent solitude of the night.
  • He was a big man with a soft voice, the sound of the northlands of Roscommon in his western rural accent.
Synonyms
2.2Not strong or violent: a soft breeze rustled the trees
More example sentences
  • Natalie lay on her bed; a soft breeze rustled the fabric curtains and her dirty blonde hair.
  • A soft breeze caressed flowers and leaves, sometimes making the branches shiver.
  • She stared at the surroundings and a soft breeze started to blow.
Synonyms
gentle, light, mild, moderate, calm, balmy, delicate, zephyr-like
2.3 dialect (Of the weather) rainy, moist, or thawing.
More example sentences
  • It was one mild soft day in December, that my mother persuaded Eleanor to come out with us.
3Sympathetic, lenient, or compassionate, especially to a degree perceived as excessive; not strict or sufficiently strict: the government is not becoming soft on crime Julia’s soft heart was touched by his grief
More example sentences
  • They have soft hearts and tender souls, but they are not totally naive.
  • Do you think that Arafat's coverage has been, over the years, too soft, too sympathetic by the press?
  • It's a sweet, soft, very compassionate piece that has a lot of presence and a lot of honesty in it.
Synonyms
lenient, easy-going, tolerant, forgiving, forbearing, indulgent, generous, clement, permissive, liberal, lax; tender-hearted, soft-hearted
3.1(Of words or language) not harsh or angry; conciliatory; soothing: he was no good with soft words, gentle phrases
More example sentences
  • Sir Irwin held him down gently, soothing him with soft words and petting him.
  • When she spoke, her words were soft and soothing, and calmed him of his nervousness.
  • He approaches the alien with his hands up and with soft words, explains to the alien that he means no harm and welcomes the creature.
Synonyms
kind, gentle, mild, sympathetic, soothing, tender, sensitive, affectionate, loving, warm, warm-hearted, sweet, sentimental, mushy, romantic
informal slushy, schmaltzy
3.2Willing to compromise in political matters: candidates ranging from far right to soft left
More example sentences
  • The politics of the Plural Left was soft compromise politics.
  • During the 1980s it came complete with its own Militant Tendency, soft left and right wing leadership.
  • Overall, we are in the presence of a preReagan Republican - a soft reactionary, not a feisty revolutionary.
3.3 informal (Of a job or way of life) requiring little effort.
More example sentences
  • Some men think it's a soft job and they are too butch to do it, but it doesn't have to be like that.
  • The price of enjoying such soft work is that it is sometimes accompanied by considerable verbal abuse from the officers.
  • The exceptionally bright and capable young man said that he had led a soft life and wanted to be a marine because ‘they're the toughest and most disciplined in the world.’
4(Of a drink) not alcoholic.
More example sentences
  • The expedition is sponsored by Mountain Dew, a soft drink of the beverage company, Pepsi.
  • Lines of business range from clothing, knitted fabric, and leather goods, to food, soft beverages, and liquor.
  • Food and drink shops led the boom with sales of ice-cream, beer, chilled soft beverages and barbecues all topping the list.
4.1(Of a drug) not likely to cause addiction.
More example sentences
  • Cannabis is a soft drug, softer than tobacco which 11- to 12-year-olds are getting hold of.
  • He had this big bag under the kitchen sink containing what was a form of that soft drug cannabis.
  • While I was in Oxford doing my Higher Education certificate I came into contact with soft drugs and participated in the taking of them.
4.2(Of radiation) having little penetrating power.
More example sentences
  • In two high-altitude rocket flights of thin-walled Geiger tubes at geomagnetic latitudes 64° and 74°N, a considerable intensity of soft radiation has been encountered above 50 kilometers altitude.
  • Also present is a considerable background of soft radiation, which apparently is also x-radiation of non-solar or terrestrial origin.
  • In diagnostic applications, aluminum filters are used to remove the undesirable portion of soft radiation which would be completely absorbed by the human body.
4.3(Of a detergent) biodegradable.
More example sentences
  • With the emphasis being given to the development of biologically soft detergents, it is necessary to establish criteria defining biodegradability of these materials.
  • They still go on about 'soft detergent', which might mean something to the US market, but, as far as I'm concerned, is still a detergent and will bind to the fabric.
  • The turtle was cleaned with mineral oils and a soft detergent.
4.4 (also soft-core) (Of pornography) suggestive or erotic but not explicit.
More example sentences
  • As Elizabeth Bell points out, the difference between soft-core pornography and hard-core pornography is the difference between simulated and real sex.
  • Under the government's definition, the rules encompass both hard-core and soft-core photos and videos as long as there's sexual activity - even if it's solo.
  • But we should appreciate that reality TV, particularly, traffics in and relies upon voyeurism, one-upmanship, humiliation and often soft-core pornography.
5(Of water) free from mineral salts that make lathering difficult.
More example sentences
  • Rainwater is naturally soft and free of minerals, chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals.
  • Young discus fish should not be kept in very soft water as there aren't the right minerals present for good growth.
  • Woollen manufacturers needed cheap, soft water for washing and dyeing; merchants wanted modern docks.
6 informal Foolish; silly: he must be going soft in the head
More example sentences
  • One would have to be soft in the head to vote for someone who is obviously easily manipulated by those around him.
  • They think clean air is always more important than cheap housing and treat those who would dare to choose otherwise as soft in the head.
6.1 (soft on) informal Infatuated with: was Brendan soft on her?
7(Of a consonant) pronounced as a fricative (as c in ice).
More example sentences
  • Still the dominant phonetic presence is of light vowels and soft consonants.
  • The phonics of it - the hard consonant followed by a long vowel and a soft consonant.
  • So my conclusion is that as a vocal affectation, Jackson pronounces it with a soft C.

adverb

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1In a quiet or gentle way: I can just speak soft and she’ll hear me
More example sentences
  • They sang as angels soft and gentle and put the audience in the mood for the writers who were to follow.
  • There's no doubt in my mind that Christina can sing soft and delicately.
  • As he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything' s going to be all right."
2 informal In a weak or foolish way: don’t talk soft
More example sentences
  • But then I think straight back, ‘Don't talk soft, she'd never do that’.
  • Now then, girl, you're talking soft, as if Donal would risk losing his job.
  • Mitch, don't talk soft. The Eye still has by far and away the best exposes of any magazine.

Origin

Old English sōfte 'agreeable, calm, gentle', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch zacht and German sanft.

Phrases

have a soft spot (Indian also soft corner) for

Be fond of or affectionate towards.
More example sentences
  • I have noticed that I have a soft spot for psychotic people.
  • But when it comes to judging themselves, or judging the groups they have a soft spot for, the standard is very different.
  • You've always had a soft spot for Maharaja Janak's eldest.

soft option

An easier alternative: probation should in no sense be seen as a soft option by the judiciary
More example sentences
  • City Manager Eddie Breen pointed out that recycling went hand in hand with the idea of thermal treatment, and ‘it was not the soft option but the final option’.
  • I would like to be assured that going into liquidation is not the soft option for directors and an alternative to keeping their own funds in the company.
  • People need to be persuaded not only that prison works in its rehabilitating role, but also that the alternatives to jail do likewise and are no soft option.

soft touch (also easy touch)

informal A person who readily gives or does something if asked.
More example sentences
  • We've shown people we're not a soft touch and that we won't be pushed over by the criticism.
  • The bit that still gets to me is the look on her face as she approached me, as though she thought I was a soft touch and I was going to bow down at her feet and beg forgiveness.
  • The trouble with caring too much is becoming a soft touch.

Derivatives

softish

adjective
More example sentences
  • Mix in 175 ml - 200 ml cold water - enough to make a softish dough.
  • But most experts - including David Smith, the Sunday Times economics editor - predict a softish landing.
  • The new mix of news, features and interviewers in a softish approach with the ‘cover’ story at the end, changed.

softly

adverb
More example sentences
  • Shaking her head slightly she glanced up from the door and cursed softly when she realised she had left the shutters to the studio open.
  • I knelt bringing myself to her height and I spoke softly, gently, trying to keep her calm.
  • She hummed softly to the tune playing in the room as she examined the bandage on her left arm.

softness

noun
More example sentences
  • Sow softness and tenderness in your love affair as it is bound to ripen into love.
  • It sounded like the strength of a thousand swords mixed with the softness of a gentle stream.
  • It is hard, barren, dry country drained of colour, warmth and softness.

Definition of soft in:

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