Definition of softly-softly in English:



  • [attributive] Cautious and patient.

    ‘he urged the president to use a softly-softly approach to the crisis’
    • ‘Essex Police today warned motorists in Tendring that the softly-softly approach to people using mobiles while behind the wheel is at an end.’
    • ‘Although a nation-wide ban on using hand-held phones while at the wheel came into force last December, Wiltshire Constabulary maintained a softly-softly approach during the first couple of months.’
    • ‘Fingleton has defended the lack of prosecutions and intimates the softly-softly approach will continue apace with the advocacy of regulatory reform.’
    • ‘‘We have taken the softly-softly approach several times, and 90% of the time it works,’ she says.’
    • ‘It is blatantly obvious that all too often command teams at unit level adopt a stance of softly-softly and leave the hard decisions to some poor individual thousands of kilometres away.’
    • ‘So it has gone for the softly-softly approach of small and gradual rate rises.’
    • ‘The Boss tries the softly-softly approach at first so as to lull me into a false sense of security - not knowing that all calls originating in the sixth floor and terminating at his office are automatically flagged for my attention.’
    • ‘If yesterday I spoke to someone softly-softly and he did not understand, then next day I have to be strict and implacable.’
    • ‘Bolton manager Sam Allardyce will take the softly-softly approach to try to put his rocky relegation strugglers back on track.’
    • ‘Certainly, orchestras have swooned under his so-called softly-softly approach; he apparently never raised his voice during his half century of conducting.’
    • ‘There's the brutal, honest approach - ‘We have nothing in common any more, and frankly your laugh has always annoyed me’ - or the softly-softly approach.’
    • ‘Employers' inability to manage growing mental ill-health in their workforces is matched by general practitioners' softly-softly approach to the problem.’
    • ‘In Monte Carlo, for example, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of drivers of cheaper cars being stopped and asked to provide their papers by hitherto softly-softly local police.’
    • ‘We have urged the government to act, but she has told us that the softly-softly approach was the right policy.’
    • ‘The planning area generally, says Young, is one that requires a blend of ‘consultation and the softly-softly approach’ to make sure that building projects are not delayed or scuppered completely.’
    • ‘It remains to be seen whether McConnell's softly-softly approach will hinder his efforts to reform public services by being too closely aligned to vested interests.’
    • ‘Professor Miles prefers to take a softly-softly approach and will talk to Financial Services Authority and the Office of Fair Trading about which steps to be taken to improve the functioning of the market.’
    • ‘Town councillors and council staff in Marlborough are to take a softly-softly approach on the sensitive subject of wobbly gravestones.’
    • ‘When the softly-softly approach was unsuccessful, my husband decided to go in the pen behind them, and try to urge them out with a gentle push.’
    • ‘A new series of priorities has been drawn up, and top of the bill is the serving of enforcement notices to counter the softly-softly approach, chasing up overdue prosecutions on people who refuse to comply.’
    cautious, circumspect, discreet, gentle, gradual, calm, restrained, patient, tactful, diplomatic
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