soft
Pronunciation
  • (America) IPA: /sɔft/, enPR: sôft
  • (cot-caught, Canada) IPA: /sɑft/, enPR: sŏft
  • (RP) IPA: /sɒft/, enPR: sŏft
    • (Conservative RP) IPA: /sɔːft/

Adjective

soft (comparative softer, superlative softest)

  1. Easily giving way under pressure.
    My head sank easily into the soft pillow.
  2. (of cloth or similar material) Smooth and flexible; not rough, rugged, or harsh.
    Polish the silver with a soft cloth to avoid scratching.
    soft silk; a soft skin
    • Bible, Matt. xi. 8
      They that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
  3. (of a sound) Quiet.
    I could hear the soft rustle of the leaves in the trees.
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene iii]:
      Her voice was ever soft, / Gentle, and low, — an excellent thing in woman.
  4. Gentle.
    There was a soft breeze blowing.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iii]:
      I would to God my heart were flint, like Edward's; / Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine.
    • The meek or soft shall inherit the earth.
  5. Expressing gentleness or tenderness; mild; conciliatory; courteous; kind.
    soft eyes
    • , Proverbs xv. 1
      A soft answer turneth away wrath.
    • 1815, William Wordsworth, To a Highland Girl
      A face with gladness overspread, / Soft smiles, by human kindness bred.
  6. Gentle in action or motion; easy.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VIII”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      On her soft axle, white she paces even, / And bears thee soft with the smooth air along.
  7. Weak in character; impressible.
    • The deceiver soon found this soft place of Adam's.
  8. Requiring little or no effort; easy.
    • 1892, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Beach of Falesá
      Before that they had been a good deal on the move, trekking about after the white man, who was one of those rolling stones that keep going round after a soft job.
  9. Not bright or intense.
    soft lighting
  10. Having a slight angle from straight.
    At the intersection with two roads going left, take the soft left.
    It's important to dance on soft knees to avoid injury.
  11. (linguistics) Voiced; sonant.
    • 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
      DH represents the voiced (soft) th of English these clothes.
  12. (linguistics, rare) voiceless
  13. (linguistics, Slavic languages) palatalized
  14. (slang) Lacking strength or resolve; not tough, wimpy.
    When it comes to drinking, he is as soft as they come.
  15. (of water) Low in dissolved calcium compounds.
    You won't need as much soap, as the water here is very soft.
  16. (UK, colloquial) Foolish.
    • 1621, Robert Burton (scholar), The Essential Anatomy of Melancholy
      He made soft fellows stark noddies, and such as were foolish quite mad.
  17. (physics) Of a ferromagnetic material; a material that becomes essentially non-magnetic when an external magnetic field is removed, a material with a low magnetic coercivity. (compare hard)
  18. (of a person) Physically or emotionally weak.
  19. Incomplete, or temporary; not a full action.
    The admin imposed a soft block/ban on the user or a soft lock on the article.
  20. (UK, of a man) Effeminate.
    • 1650, Jeremy Taylor, The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living
      A longing after sensual pleasures is a dissolution of the spirit of a man, and makes it loose, soft, and wandering.
  21. Agreeable to the senses.
    a soft liniment
    soft wines
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      the soft, delicious air
  22. Not harsh or offensive to the sight; not glaring or jagged; pleasing to the eye.
    soft colours
    the soft outline of the snow-covered hill
    • 1673, {{w|Edward Browne (physician)|Edward Browne, A Brief Account of some Travels in Hungaria, Styria, Bulgaria, Thessaly, Austria, Serbia, Carynthia, Carniola, and Friuli
      The sun, shining upon the upper part of the clouds […] made the softest lights imaginable.
  23. (photography, of light) Made up of nonparallel rays, tending to wrap around a subject and produce diffuse shadows.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: weich
  • Russian: сла́бый
Translations
  • Russian: мягкий

Interjection
  1. (archaic) Be quiet; hold; stop; not so fast.
    • c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene ii]:
      Soft, you; a word or two before you go.
      But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?

Adverb

soft

  1. (obsolete) Softly; without roughness or harshness; gently; quietly.
    • A knight soft riding toward them.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter II, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546 ↗; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., […], [1933], OCLC 2666860 ↗, page 0091 ↗:
      There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.

Noun

soft (plural softs)

  1. A soft or foolish person; an idiot.
  2. (motorsports) Ellipsis of soft tyre A tyre whose compound is softer than mediums, and harder than supersofts.



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