Definition of soft in English:


Line breaks: soft
Pronunciation: /sɒft


  • 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.
    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
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    • 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.
    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
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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
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    • 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.


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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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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

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Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little