Definition of soft in US English:



  • 1Easy to mold, cut, compress, or fold; not hard or firm to the touch.

    ‘soft margarine’
    ‘the ground was soft beneath their feet’
    • ‘There are rupas of the body appearing whenever we touch what is hard or soft.’
    • ‘Twigs and branches snapped and burrowed deeper as their feet trampled the soft soil beneath it.’
    • ‘The soft carpet beneath his feet might as well be molasses, sucking him down, trapping him.’
    • ‘Peaches and apples are separated by whether they are soft, firm or hard.’
    • ‘This is a cover made from hard or soft plastic that fits over your upper or lower teeth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Habit is like a soft bed, easy to get into but hard to get out of!’
    • ‘It was soft beneath his hard-booted foot, although it only gave a little when he put his full weight on it.’
    • ‘The sand is like a firm sponge; it is soft and hard at the same time.’
    • ‘Different materials behave differently; acrylic plastic is soft and easy to do work with but can melt quickly if you overdo things.’
    • ‘All the trees were pine, their fallen needles forming a soft and springy carpet beneath her feet.’
    • ‘The grass was a bright shade of emerald and was soft beneath one's feet or hooves.’
    • ‘So both hard and soft margarines (the latter to a lesser extent) are like saturated fats.’
    • ‘He stood alone in a small, unoccupied steel room; a row of soft cushion and hard plastic chairs lined the far wall.’
    • ‘She laid her head on his chest, soft and yet firm from hard work.’
    • ‘She hated his kisses because his lips were always cold and soft to the touch, too soft, not firm like Timothy's.’
    • ‘Feeling the soft grass beneath my feet, I breathed in the night air.’
    • ‘Its visibility may wax or wane, and to the touch it may feel soft, elastic, fibrous or hard.’
    • ‘Maria scrambled to her feet as the soft sand shifted beneath her.’
    • ‘The mud beneath my feet was soft and with every step, I sunk in to my ankle or deeper.’
    mushy, squashy, pulpy, pappy, slushy, sloppy, squelchy, squishy, oozy, doughy, semi-liquid
    swampy, marshy, boggy, miry, fenny, oozy
    supple, elastic, springy, pliable, pliant, squashy, resilient, cushiony, spongy, compressible, flexible, ductile, malleable, tensile, plastic
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    1. 1.1 Having a smooth surface or texture that is pleasant to touch; not rough or coarse.
      ‘soft crushed velvet’
      ‘her hair felt very soft’
      • ‘The hands weren't the gravely and rough kind or soft and furry like all of the monsters that I knew of.’
      • ‘It is also non-staining, acts as an insect repellent, and has excellent moisturising properties too-- and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth.’
      • ‘But her oval hands stayed soft, smooth and delicate white.’
      • ‘Derek pulled her into a hug, gently stroking her soft, smooth hair.’
      • ‘Her skin was lightly tanned and looked as smooth and as soft as velvet.’
      • ‘Create suds in a bowl and apply the suds to the leather surface with a soft cloth or sponge.’
      • ‘His rough callused hand moved slowly to her soft, smooth arm.’
      • ‘He put his arm around me, and I around him, noting the super soft texture of his suede jacket.’
      • ‘You'll often find boudoir pillows in soft, smooth satin, rich velvet, lace, crochet covers and more.’
      • ‘Bending he lightly touched her hair, soft beneath his fingers, and bent to press a kiss to the corner of her mouth.’
      • ‘Kathleen stared down at the pile of clothe that he rested on her stretched out hands; it felt so soft beneath her touch.’
      • ‘They captured the glossy surfaces of fruit and fish, and the soft textures of velvet and lace.’
      • ‘Instead of scaly skin, most had smooth, soft, and most of all furry skin.’
      • ‘The very mention of ‘silk’ conjures up a soft, smooth and shimmering fabric.’
      • ‘Both the parfait and the white chocolate sauce had a wonderful soft texture, making it feel like I was eating the finest silk.’
      • ‘His hands were rough and weathered against her smooth, soft skin, but he was gentle when binding the shoulder wound.’
      • ‘And after all that scrubbing the surface is silky soft and touchy-feely right now.’
      • ‘His lips were soft and silky smooth, and he tasted of cinnamon and cream.’
      • ‘Slip on one of her soft, smooth, silky pieces and you'll immediately realize why they're so popular.’
      • ‘The husband of one of my friends tried this and said it fulfilled its promise of leaving his skin smooth and soft after shaving.’
      velvety, smooth, cushiony, fleecy, downy, leathery, furry, silky, silken, satiny, suede-effect
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    2. 1.2 Rounded; not angular.
      ‘the soft edges of their adobe home’
      • ‘Her body seemed to blur then reform itself, changing from an angular, inhuman shape to the soft roundness of a human child.’
      • ‘Built in the nineteenth century, the building was all soft edges and warm charm.’
      • ‘We looked at Raphael's use of the tondo format and how he echoed this circular shape in the soft rounded forms of his Madonnas.’
      • ‘His features where rounded soft, as if baby fat had never been burnt off his figure.’
      • ‘This particular form of tailoring is tight and tiny, cut with soft, rounded shoulders, open necklines and small waists which are sometimes belted.’
      • ‘Throughout the house, the original whitewashed walls have soft rounded corners and are offset by pale blue windows and doors.’
      • ‘Rubbed wood works nicely as does the use of moulding with soft, rounded corners.’
      • ‘Janssen, though beautiful, has no soft edges - her face is angular, her nose sharp, her amazing figure more sculpted than curved.’
      • ‘One shape should be sharp, angular and synthetic, while the other is soft, rounded and biomorphic.’
  • 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’
    • ‘The purples are appearing in a soft, subtle vein in all casts from pale lavender to deep aubergine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The whole place had great big gorgeous windows set in black mahogany, which really did set a nice classic contrast to the soft off-white shade of the walls.’
    • ‘Bitmaps are best suited for photos, drop-shadow effects and soft, glowing or blurry edges.’
    • ‘I'm so pleased with the colour - it has a lovely soft glow that catches your eye as you're going up the stairs.’
    • ‘Colors appear natural, if somewhat subdued, and contrast seems soft at times.’
    • ‘Her blue-green eyes were always soft behind her sharp, hawk-like features.’
    • ‘She looked around her, noticing how the moon gave the stone a soft, blue quality.’
    • ‘From his seat on the floor, he could see the church, its steeple glowing, soft and pale and ghostly.’
    • ‘The image - this one is projected onto a wall - is rather soft.’
    • ‘Fall Frost Coming, painted in 1966, is a large canvas that features muted trees with soft edges.’
    • ‘Lucifer stared into Gabriel's eyes; they were a sharp blue, but soft and knowing all at the same time.’
    • ‘A diver's suspended body defines the topmost edge of a soft sepia-gray sky.’
    • ‘The pictures used to have a soft romantic quality to them.’
    • ‘The lighting is soft and subtle and with the night lights on the table and the backlit stained glass on the window give the place a cosy intimate feel.’
    • ‘I marvel at such early perception of the subtle line, the power of an arc, a soft shadow that glows darkly under the skin.’
    • ‘Contrast is rather soft at times and edge effects are apparent though not distracting.’
    • ‘Layering lighting sources creates a soft, calming effect that is always appreciated.’
    • ‘She thought a rich auburn in contrast to the soft blue would look good.’
    • ‘Subtle pinks blended with soft oranges, rich creams and the palest off-whites.’
    dim, low, faint, shaded, subdued, muted, mellow
    pale, pastel, muted, washed out, understated, restrained, subdued, subtle
    blurred, vague, hazy, misty, foggy, veiled, cloudy, clouded, nebulous, fuzzy, blurry, ill-defined, indistinct, unclear, flowing, fluid
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    1. 2.1 (of a voice or sound) quiet and gentle.
      ‘they spoke in soft whispers’
      • ‘He was a big man with a soft voice, the sound of the northlands of Roscommon in his western rural accent.’
      • ‘He followed the sounds of Nina's soft voice into the kitchen and watched her at work.’
      • ‘It had a soft, lilting quality to it, like somebody whose mother made them practice singing constantly.’
      • ‘She sang in soft, smoothing volumes, that did not seem to rise above a roar yet filled the entire room with the sweet essence of her voice.’
      • ‘Violinist then starts to play a rather soft melody - more like a waltzing melody to me.’
      • ‘Where Kumar was flamboyant and loud, Natarajan was subtle, soft.’
      • ‘The lake was a peaceful sight, with a few reeds along the edge, and the soft hum of cicadas around it.’
      • ‘Her voice was soft and sounded so far away, but as always, it was enough.’
      • ‘No response, only a soft laughter and the sound of two voices talking.’
      • ‘The mysterious sounds, the soft voices - I enjoy the silent solitude of the night.’
      • ‘Her eyes snapped open as there was a soft, yet sharp, knock on the door.’
      • ‘All she could hear was Dominic's gentle breathing and the soft sound of the snow falling.’
      • ‘Soon enough, the soft sound of footsteps gave way to hushed voices.’
      • ‘She takes the ice chips, dropping them into the goblet; the soft clicks sounding like bells.’
      • ‘Human speech flowed like bubbling liquid from his lips, reassuringly soft with no aggressive edge to it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Blair's ears pricked at the sound of soft footfalls echoing in the distance.’
      • ‘About half an hour later we had another quiet dinner, the soft clank of utensils the only sound in the stillness.’
      • ‘Tyls was in the room above them, so Alexis could easily sense how nervous he was by the soft pacing that her sharp ears picked up.’
      • ‘A gentle hand brushed across her forehead and a soft voice whispered soothingly into her ear.’
      quiet, low, faint, muted, subdued, muffled, hushed, quietened, whispered, stifled, murmured, gentle, dulcet, indistinct, inaudible
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    2. 2.2 (of rain, wind, or other natural force) not strong or violent.
      ‘a soft breeze rustled the trees’
      • ‘Walking through the woods in Northern Ireland on a clear blue day, Alex smiled at the soft breeze that ruffled his hair.’
      • ‘She smiled and stretched out on her bench, relaxing in the soft breeze.’
      • ‘A soft breeze caressed flowers and leaves, sometimes making the branches shiver.’
      • ‘The February sun tugged at the clouds and a soft breeze blew chilly.’
      • ‘The weather was fantastic, velvety warm, with a nice soft breeze.’
      • ‘The day was just too beautiful; the air crisp and fresh, the leaves swaying lightly in the soft breeze ahead.’
      • ‘She was pleased by the soft wind that caressed her bare neck and toyed with her hair.’
      • ‘She stared at the surroundings and a soft breeze started to blow.’
      • ‘The wind's temper gradually drifted away until there was nothing left but a soft breeze.’
      • ‘Natalie lay on her bed; a soft breeze rustled the fabric curtains and her dirty blonde hair.’
      • ‘A soft, cold breeze came against my face and the floor creaked as I moved.’
      • ‘The breeze was soft and crisp making the air so cold I could feel my fingers cringe.’
      • ‘And, other than that, it's been a quiet Spring day, overcast and with a soft rain on and off throughout.’
      • ‘By the time the corner in the road came into view, there was only a soft drizzle.’
      • ‘I awoke to the sound of soft rain drumming the roof, a sound I will no longer hear in a few days…’
      • ‘They stayed like that for what seemed like hours as the rain let up, turning into a soft drizzle.’
      • ‘He let his eyes wander to the world outside - the dark clouds, the soft rain, soaking everything in its path.’
      • ‘She felt a soft breeze, seeming to pervade her with comfort and love.’
      • ‘The school's dark shape suddenly appeared through the mist of soft rain that had begun to fall.’
      • ‘There was no wind, and a soft rain fell gently from the unbroken cloud.’
      gentle, light, mild, moderate, calm, balmy, delicate, zephyr-like
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  • 3Sympathetic, lenient, or compassionate, especially to a degree perceived as excessive; not strict or sufficiently strict.

    ‘the administration is not becoming soft on crime’
    ‘Julia's soft heart was touched by his grief’
    • ‘The cartoon is Disney's answer to Dreamworks's Shrek, the irreverent story of a green Scottish ogre with a soft heart.’
    • ‘Sassy, brashy, with a tough exterior that belies her soft heart, Scarlett Adams is the kind of role that comes along once in a lifetime.’
    • ‘If you have a soft heart, be forewarned: The food's so fresh that your lobster will wave goodbye as it heads to the kettle.’
    • ‘Notice how soft, how compassionate and caring Jesus is in dealing with Simon.’
    • ‘They have soft hearts and tender souls, but they are not totally naive.’
    • ‘Vee has a soft heart for strangers, especially ones with artistic talent.’
    • ‘One of Josh's greatest failings had always been that he had such a soft heart.’
    • ‘Policemen are not exactly known for their non-conformity or their soft hearts.’
    • ‘His heart grew soft and heavy as he noticed a small ring on Mackenzie's finger.’
    • ‘Fortunately, even the crusty old British Medical Association has a soft heart and recognises that ‘you can't stand in the way of true love’.’
    • ‘However, the thought of Margreet's tragic death would have her soft heart stiffened.’
    • ‘Do you think that Arafat's coverage has been, over the years, too soft, too sympathetic by the press?’
    • ‘Beneath this curmudgeonly exterior lurks the soft heart and even softer head of a hapless romantic.’
    • ‘She could be absolutely hilarious and wild, but she also had a soft and kind heart.’
    • ‘Especially not this woman with caring caramel eyes and a soft heart.’
    • ‘The FRA has come up with soft conditions to effect the recovery of loans in order not to inconvenience the farmer.’
    • ‘I always feel bad for people; my mom told me that it was because of my soft heart.’
    • ‘Runako has a soft heart, and he would never, ever do such a thing!’
    • ‘He seemed to be in his late thirties and his wide smile reflected a soft heart.’
    • ‘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
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    1. 3.1 (of words or language) not harsh or angry; conciliatory; soothing.
      ‘he was no good with soft words, gentle phrases’
      • ‘Sir Irwin held him down gently, soothing him with soft words and petting him.’
      • ‘He spoke soft words and the girls seemed to relax, giving Abe's men wary glances.’
      • ‘His soft words lingered in my ears for longer than was natural.’
      • ‘They react even to disturbing news with a resigned smile and soft words.’
      • ‘The soft words sparked something inside of Katherine and she rose heatedly from her chair.’
      • ‘What it tries to indicate is altogether valid, but the word is too soft to do the reality justice.’
      • ‘When she spoke, her words were soft and soothing, and calmed him of his nervousness.’
      • ‘How can he make someone believe that a soft word from him means everything is perfect?’
      • ‘His soft words comforted me and for awhile we just lay there on the tiny futon talking.’
      • ‘The soft words made him look down at the bowed head of the man he had come to care so much for.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With one quick glance he can tell when you're at the end of your rope but with his gentle smile and soft caring words he can always help restore your hope.’
      • ‘The words were soft and tender, and it touched me even more since these were the words I'd been waiting to hear.’
      • ‘My parents gave me their soft words and thinking it was best they left my room.’
      • ‘The soft words calmed Sabriel completely, and as her breathing became even again she could feel a faint touch of her old confidence.’
      • ‘Although the words were soft, they had a tone to them that threatened the man.’
      • ‘She made her way to the stairs, setting her hand on the railing as she made her way down, soft words reaching her ears.’
      • ‘And his soft words, gentle manners and intense feelings win you over.’
      • ‘The words were soft and magical in the air, commanding me to agree with him.’
      • ‘For so she is, this High Priestess of Rennon who came to me, all smiles and soft, tender words, and tried to persuade me to her side.’
      kind, gentle, mild, sympathetic, soothing, tender, sensitive, affectionate, loving, warm, warm-hearted, sweet, sentimental, mushy, romantic
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    2. 3.2 (of news or other journalism) regarded more as entertainment than as basic news.
      ‘fashion is regarded as soft news’
      • ‘If it could sell the paper at Rs.12, it could afford to pander less to media planners who decide how soft today's journalism should be.’
      • ‘Neither is this to imply that media outlets shouldn't ever run soft science news.’
      • ‘I prefer now to enjoy entertainment or soft news rather than to pay serious attention to serious issues.’
      • ‘As coverage of child care takes priority over coverage of city hall, the distinction between hard news and soft news will blur.’
      • ‘These stories are found in numerous newspaper style sections and in soft magazine features.’
      • ‘And the news itself should be lighter and more digestible: short cycles, interspersed with a lot of soft news.’
      • ‘I guess one should not be churlish about soft journalism, it does its bit to spread happiness and light.’
      • ‘Out of this morass arose tabloid TV and soft news magazines, easy on both the budgets and ratings.’
      • ‘Should a critic drop her defences in the face of soft journalism, thumbnail description and popular explanation?’
    3. 3.3 Willing to compromise in political matters; moderate.
      ‘candidates ranging from far right to soft left’
      • ‘Critics say the new government's soft policy towards militants has led to the spate of attacks in the past three days.’
      • ‘This story has a disturbing undercurrent that our soft policies allow to happen.’
      • ‘Overall, we are in the presence of a preReagan Republican - a soft reactionary, not a feisty revolutionary.’
      • ‘This Government is too busy doing the photo shoots, doing the soft stuff, and pandering to the unions.’
      • ‘Although the bill looks quite good on the face of it and is a little tougher than the current legislation, that legislation is inherently soft.’
      • ‘Qualifications obviously help but it is the soft skills that often matter.’
      • ‘He basically felt that the Provisional Government was too soft and that it should go.’
      • ‘Present your candidate with scenarios that would require the use of soft skills, and see what the candidate says.’
      • ‘During the 1980s it came complete with its own Militant Tendency, soft left and right wing leadership.’
      • ‘The politics of the Plural Left was soft compromise politics.’
      • ‘It's a soft way of introducing currency controls, which would otherwise be politically unpopular.’
      • ‘The general public of New Zealand contains some who might be soft Tories.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this bill is a bit too soft for us to support.’
      • ‘Its public face tended to be dominated by soft Labour left fellow travellers.’
      • ‘Socialist convictions have become soft or mellow or something worse.’
      • ‘It has been part of his strategy to attract soft supporters which the National Front then hopes to turn into hardcore members.’
      • ‘So it is a soft amendment, saying that at least the commission should have to consult.’
      • ‘In other respects, Beijing's political influence and soft power abroad are comparably limited.’
      • ‘After all it's the soft vote that matters during a campaign - the people who could go either way, or no way at all.’
    4. 3.4 Not strong or robust.
      ‘soft, out-of-shape executives in a computer company’
      • ‘Health drinks are for soft southerners who don't understand the bitter evils of driving Glaswegian sleet from October till March.’
      • ‘Tell me that the party is a bunch of soft cowards who can't fight terrorism or run a disciplined economic agenda.’
      • ‘He could see them all in the mirror, looking funnily at each other, and he didn't want them to think he was soft.’
      • ‘Well I am not soft or making excuses to take time off.’
      • ‘I'm too soft, and constantly at war with myself for not standing up for myself.’
      • ‘The Wasps might have proved yesterday that they were not soft but, more importantly, they lost the game.’
      • ‘Relying too heavily on outside sources of strength will just make you soft and weak.’
      • ‘He may be fat, but he is not soft, not stupid, not lazy, he knows his business and he probably doesn't have patience for idiocy.’
      • ‘The rep the Spurs have over the years of being a little soft has to fall on the shoulders of Duncan and Robinson.’
      • ‘And we who have never had to face a world war, we who have got soft, living beyond our means, need to remember them.’
      • ‘Boys were growing soft: too much time with their mothers and their teachers, not enough manly activity.’
      • ‘I think I'm soft, but if a woman hit me, I'd thump her back, not go weeping to the authorities.’
      • ‘They faced famine, and they had grown soft from easy living.’
      • ‘Possessed of many virtues, in most ways a grown-up, she is soft at the center, a pushover.’
      • ‘I am soft, centre, wishy-washy new labour and ashamed of it.’
      • ‘While some sought to show themselves as too soft and weak for battle in order to avoid call-up, others took pride in a fighting heritage.’
      • ‘My old self would have said I was soft and pathetic.’
      • ‘They are always soft, irresolute men--homebodies with more dynamic girlfriends or wives.’
      • ‘People are being raised to be soft and stupid, and I think it is really about slowly wiping out dissidence and uniqueness in the culture, I really do.’
      • ‘Shaw deplored revolution, and not because he was soft.’
      weak, weak-willed, weak-kneed, feeble, spiritless, ineffectual, inadequate, irresolute, indecisive
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    5. 3.5informal (of a job or way of life) requiring little effort.
      • ‘The price of enjoying such soft work is that it is sometimes accompanied by considerable verbal abuse from the officers.’
      • ‘The soft life they lead nowadays as constituency members is just unbelievable compared with the good old days.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I am privileged to have escaped the monotonous toil of endless physical labour and to have experienced a soft life in which I have been able to indulge my passion for history.’
  • 4(of a drink) not alcoholic.

    ‘all they had was ginger ale and a few other soft drinks’
    • ‘Or is the problem their high consumption of soft and fizzy bottled drinks?’
    • ‘Food and drink shops led the boom with sales of ice-cream, beer, chilled soft beverages and barbecues all topping the list.’
    • ‘The expedition is sponsored by Mountain Dew, a soft drink of the beverage company, Pepsi.’
    • ‘What has emerged from the present debate is that we have no standards, at least not mandatory ones for soft aerated drinks.’
    • ‘Lines of business range from clothing, knitted fabric, and leather goods, to food, soft beverages, and liquor.’
    1. 4.1 (of a drug) not likely to cause addiction.
      • ‘Lampe believes that legalization of drugs, starting with soft drugs, can help.’
      • ‘Dealers often lure users of soft drugs into the murks of more dangerous drugs, and get them hooked on these hard drugs from there.’
      • ‘Last week the Evening Press revealed that heroin is so widely available in the city that it is now cheaper than cannabis and other soft drugs.’
      • ‘Large quantities of soft drugs and hard drugs were found in the car of the eldest brother.’
      • ‘Possession of small quantities of soft drugs (marijuana and hashish) is not prosecuted.’
      • ‘Saturday a poll revealed that a significant number of MPs are in favour of changing the law relating to soft drugs.’
      • ‘While I was in Oxford doing my Higher Education certificate I came into contact with soft drugs and participated in the taking of them.’
      • ‘Half a year ago her first boyfriend got jailed for four years, for dealing in soft drugs.’
      • ‘They had started using soft drugs, such as hash, less than a few months ago.’
      • ‘We support gay marriages, decriminalising soft drugs and prostitution, and decentralisation.’
      • ‘He had this big bag under the kitchen sink containing what was a form of that soft drug cannabis.’
      • ‘I think it's a soft drug as they say, and shouldn't carry those heavy penalties.’
      • ‘The Dutch decision to cease enforcing marijuana laws was a deliberate attempt to separate the hard and soft drug markets.’
      • ‘Most people acknowledge the big difference between the dangers of soft drugs such as cannabis and the likes of heroine and cocaine.’
      • ‘It is believed by some people that cannabis acts as a bridge from soft drugs to hard drugs, which are dangerous.’
      • ‘This fragile monster truck of booze and soft drugs eventually careened off the road.’
      • ‘Cannabis is a soft drug, softer than tobacco which 11- to 12-year-olds are getting hold of.’
      • ‘Sure, she'd drink here and there at parties, and she'd dabbled in a few soft drugs, but nothing too bad.’
      • ‘Drugs also come under scrutiny, with a programme assessing the impact of the legalisation of soft drugs in Britain.’
      • ‘I know they have talked about legalising soft drugs.’
    2. 4.2 (of radiation) having little penetrating power.
      • ‘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.’
    3. 4.3 (of a detergent) biodegradable.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With the emphasis being given to the development of biologically soft detergents, it is necessary to establish criteria defining biodegradability of these materials.’
      • ‘The turtle was cleaned with mineral oils and a soft detergent.’
    4. 4.4 (of pornography) suggestive or erotic but not explicit.
      • ‘He knows about the women, the clothes, the soft-core porn, the sissified Martinis, etc.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By the beginning of the twenty-first century, every form of sexual exploitation, including soft-core child pornography, had been adapted by advertisers.’
      • ‘My site is soft-core - just girls posing for the camera.’
      • ‘It introduced a premium edition last month, with a monthly charge of $30 to subscribers who will receive exclusive access to a mix of political commentary and soft-core pornography.’
      • ‘Some Girl Scout mothers called it soft-core porn.’
      • ‘Theresa has a real problem with A & F, she calls their catalogs soft-core porn.’
      • ‘Which is worse: two airhead singers delivering half a second of soft-core porn or a hockey player delivering hard-core revenge that leaves an unmoving body on the ice for 10 minutes?’
      • ‘This, combined with some soft-core porn, sent what was left of the family contingent screaming back to the suburbs.’
      • ‘But we should appreciate that reality TV, particularly, traffics in and relies upon voyeurism, one-upmanship, humiliation and often soft-core pornography.’
      • ‘It never occurs to her that three hours later viewers will be treated to an afternoon of soft-core pornography masquerading as soap opera.’
      • ‘Let's pretend, though, that old-school soft-core erotica is your thing - there's not a film genre you consider more beloved.’
      • ‘Emmanuelle, directed by Just Jaeckin, is the mother of all soft-core films, the movie that finally brought the sexual revolution to the suburbs of North America.’
      • ‘Well, it is dark, and there is a screen as tall as a building playing soft-core porn… can you blame them?’
      • ‘But if you go to the movie hoping that it's going to be soft-core porn they're going to be disappointed because there's not enough to merit that.’
      • ‘The fact that the ad is soft-core porn is not as disturbing as the way that ‘sex’ is presented.’
      • ‘I can also tell you that the same is true of the ships - some of it is little more than an excuse for soft-core pornography, some of it is genuinely moving romance.’
      • ‘It is interesting to recall that much of the critique of the film, when it was released, centered on the idea that it was thinly-veiled soft-core porn.’
      • ‘Hard-core material could be banned as obscene and soft-core magazines could be limited to adults in order to avoid harm to minors.’
  • 5(of a market, currency, or commodity) falling or likely to fall in value.

    • ‘Advertising revenue hasn't been enough, and in a soft ad market, it's only gotten worse.’
    • ‘The business lobby is poised to fight to maintain the number, but with the economy soft, it's likely to be an uphill battle.’
    • ‘Pearlman says that a soft market is no excuse to hunker down and wait it out.’
    • ‘And it is a futile exercise for those overseeing markets to say that no one should use soft dollars.’
    • ‘Companies taking capacity offline is an intelligent reaction in a soft market.’
    • ‘As the soft market works to sort out supply and demand issues, the U.S. economy remains slightly unstable.’
    • ‘Thus, the more hard currency transnational corporations can be persuaded to spend in soft-currency countries, the greater the economic impact.’
    • ‘Markets started out soft, but at midnight Australian time they took off with a bit of a roar.’
    • ‘However, vendors have struggled to increase demand in what is still a soft market.’
    • ‘Developing marketable horses in a soft market can be a challenge.’
    • ‘Any society which deals in both hard and soft currencies is prone to new divisions and tensions.’
    • ‘The purest way to gamble on soft commodities is probably a spread bet, but it is high risk because you can lose far more than your original stake.’
    • ‘By this I am indicating that a soft currency may be acceptable for a while - the question is: For how long?’
    • ‘And it is always the fault of the market or the hedge fund or of soft dollars or of the mutual fund or the limited partnership.’
    • ‘Burger King has been troubled by soft sales this fall as it engaged in a fierce price war with McDonald's and Wendy's.’
    • ‘During soft markets, insurers tend to undercut prices for competitive reasons.’
    • ‘It was simply too easy to run an inefficient operation, as our lack of competitive systems was simply made good by a soft currency.’
    • ‘It was nothing to do with soft market conditions as he knew.’
    • ‘Many have sat empty for weeks during the prime season, further hurting a soft retail and restaurant market.’
    • ‘The Namibian currency is expected to remain soft while commodity prices are expected to hold firm against a soft currency and a strong demand.’
  • 6(of water) containing relatively low concentrations of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts and therefore lathering easily with soap.

    ‘you use only half as much soap when you clean with soft water’
    • ‘Moving from house to house to house, from area to area, I noticed how hard water and soft water affect the skin on my face.’
    • ‘However, providing them with a soft water environment is a critical factor for breeding.’
    • ‘Woollen manufacturers needed cheap, soft water for washing and dyeing; merchants wanted modern docks.’
    • ‘Rainwater is naturally soft and free of minerals, chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals.’
    • ‘The good weather held, and at noon we stopped by a lake, and poured out all of our water, and filled our barrels with the soft water.’
    • ‘Tea in Scotland tastes better than it does anywhere else in the world because of the soft water.’
    • ‘This technique can be used to change hard water into soft water.’
    • ‘The dissolved salts in hard water have a similar effect, so soft water is advised.’
    • ‘When you've finished rinse with soft water, which inhibits streaking.’
    • ‘It is dissolved from the inside of pipes by Scotland's soft, slightly acidic water.’
    • ‘Young discus fish should not be kept in very soft water as there aren't the right minerals present for good growth.’
    • ‘Also outside ‘there was a huge rain tub which mum used for her washing and also for our baths, but it was lovely soft rainwater’.’
    • ‘By priming the pump and plugging it in, I can use my supply of soft rainwater for many things.’
  • 7informal Foolish; silly.

    ‘he must be going soft in the head’
    • ‘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.’
    foolish, stupid, simple, brainless, mindless, witless, imbecilic, imbecile, mad
    View synonyms
    1. 7.1soft onpredicative Infatuated with.
      ‘was Brendan soft on her?’
      in love with, infatuated with, besotted with, smitten with, love-struck by, captivated by, charmed by, enchanted by, fascinated by, bewitched by, beguiled by, enthralled by, entranced by, enraptured by, keen on, taken with, head over heels for, under the spell of, consumed with desire for
      View synonyms
  • 8(of a consonant) pronounced as a fricative (as c in ice).

    • ‘G is soft when followed by e, i or y, e.g., in pigeon, magic, and Egypt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is clear that the Romans pronounced a hard "k" instead of the soft "ch" abundant in Spanish and contemporary Italian.’
    • ‘So my conclusion is that as a vocal affectation, Jackson pronounces it with a soft C.’


  • 1Softly.

    ‘I can just speak soft and she'll hear me’
    • ‘There's no doubt in my mind that Christina can sing soft and delicately.’
    • ‘They sang as angels soft and gentle and put the audience in the mood for the writers who were to follow.’
    • ‘As he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything' s going to be all right."’
    1. 1.1 In a weak or foolish way.
      ‘don't talk soft’
      • ‘Mitch, don't talk soft. The Eye still has by far and away the best exposes of any magazine.’
      • ‘Now then, girl, you're talking soft, as if Donal would risk losing his job.’
      • ‘But then I think straight back, ‘Don't talk soft, she'd never do that’.’


  • have a soft spot for

    • Be fond of or affectionate toward.

      • ‘‘People very much have a soft spot for dogs,’ he says.’
      • ‘In truth, I am an old fan of Franken with a soft spot in my heart for him.’
      • ‘Say what you will about his recent fictional output (or his older fictional output, for that matter), I still have a soft spot for Kurt Vonnegut.’
      • ‘The west coast of Scotland is renowned for having a soft spot for music with a country twang.’
      • ‘I have a soft spot for boys who want to be superheroes.’
      • ‘In fact, as we would cheerfully admit to each other, we had nothing in common besides both being students and both having a soft spot for Hazell Dean.’
      • ‘Personally I've always had a soft spot for Liverpool, with my fond childhood memories of things like the Liver Birds and the Beatles.’
      • ‘But when it comes to judging themselves, or judging the groups they have a soft spot for, the standard is very different.’
      • ‘I have rather a big soft spot for Jules, though, and I don't like seeing her upset.’
      • ‘You've always had a soft spot for Maharaja Janak's eldest.’
      • ‘We've always had a soft spot for Kate, and are quite fond of Pete's work supporting Carl, but this is overplaying their hand to a dangerous extent.’
      • ‘I have noticed that I have a soft spot for psychotic people.’
      • ‘When the centre forward was transferred, so were my affections, and I've had a soft spot for the Midlanders ever since.’
      • ‘I have a soft spot for novelty acts, so this place rates high on my list of Montreal must-eats.’
      • ‘I must tell you, I have a soft spot in my heart for Liberia because my parents lived there.’
      • ‘For this reason, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Welsh rugby.’
      • ‘Clearly, I still have a soft spot for tradition.’
      • ‘Everyone who posts there is interesting and insightful, but I confess to having a soft spot for the curmudgeonly posts of Tom Smith.’
      • ‘Mr Beresford admits to having a soft spot for the town.’
      • ‘During the 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton became known for having a soft spot for fast food, especially McDonald's.’
      be fond of, be attached to, have a soft spot for, have a fondness for, have a liking for, have regard for, think well of, look on with favour, hold in esteem, admire, respect, esteem
      View synonyms
  • soft option

    • An easier alternative.

      ‘probation should in no sense be seen as a soft option by the judiciary’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Again, this had comfortable beds and was well equipped, but it's hard getting up in a tent on a chilly late August morning and on the whole, the soft option of a mobile home was preferable.’
      • ‘This represents a significant 13 per cent increase on the previous year, confirming that business crime is now being viewed as the soft option as far as criminals are concerned.’
      • ‘She said: ‘Many people will see this type of scheme as a soft option compared to a prison sentence.’’
      • ‘The point is that morality and values are no soft option.’
      • ‘Teaching to them is a soft option, with long holidays.’
      • ‘This was not the view of life on a benefit portrayed by a number of those making comments which implied that people chose to live on a benefit and have a number of children as a soft option.’
      • ‘People Have The Power marked a turnaround in her approach and now I see that what I previously regarded as a soft option is, in fact, a much more radical, harder message.’
      • ‘As against that, though, many are studying history as a soft option for competitive exams or because they don't know what else to take.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘Living in a pluralistic society will never be a soft option.’
      • ‘Some critics also claim restorative justice is a soft option for young offenders who might best be given custodial sentences for the havoc they cause in communities.’
      • ‘Home Office Minister, Charles Clarke said earlier in March: ‘Neighbourhood policing is not a soft option.’’
      • ‘They just can't handle hard work when there's a soft option available.’
      • ‘And, although police admit it is possible that they are simply intercepting fewer people, they believe the message is getting through to the organised gangs who smuggle them into the UK that the Humber ports are not a soft option.’
      • ‘Mr Blunkett insists community service orders are not a soft option and wants to relieve pressure on overcrowded prisons by sending fewer non-violent or sexual offenders to jail.’
      • ‘Many people today think of Arts as some sort of soft 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.’
      • ‘It sounds like the ultimate soft option: a university course dedicated to computer games.’
      • ‘You need discipline to get results in your social, sporting and professional lives but too many individuals here take a soft option.’
  • soft touch (also easy touch)

    • informal A person who readily gives or does something if asked.

      • ‘I think you know very well that you ought to stop being such a soft touch.’
      • ‘We've shown people we're not a soft touch and that we won't be pushed over by the criticism.’
      • ‘The trouble with caring too much is becoming a soft touch.’
      • ‘Mind you there are no easy games to be had and no soft touches either.’
      • ‘They knew that it was worth trying to scrounge a piece of cake off someone who they probably saw as an easy touch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But it is an indication that libraries have a future if our tribunes put faith in them and don't regard them as a soft touch when budgets bite.’
      • ‘Do contractors working for the city see us as an easy touch because we are elderly?’
      • ‘I was always the sap, the soft touch, the one who felt guilty.’
      • ‘What business needed on Wednesday was reassurance that it would no longer be treated as a soft touch to raise more taxes.’
      • ‘That should not mean that we allow Scotland to be seen as a soft touch for loans and other inducements, as we report today in the News section.’
      • ‘I think it's because it's such a busy shop, and also because the average age of our volunteers is 65 and people think they are an easy touch.’
      • ‘Now, having left all those adolescent marketing experiences behind, I'm a pretty easy touch for kids selling things.’
      • ‘His reputation in Whitehall is that he is something of a soft touch when it comes to negotiating.’
      • ‘Uncle David always had been a soft touch, and it was a lot easier to persuade him and Auntie Marianna to let me stay up late than it ever was with Mum and Dad.’
      • ‘When it comes to rewarding his marquee players, Taylor has proven to be a reliably soft touch.’
      • ‘The elderly and other vulnerable people are seen as an easy touch by thieves, who often work in pairs or groups to trick their victims.’
      • ‘The goal on the employers' side was assumedly to come out with journalists sympathetic to their cause, who would be an easy touch in the future when they were dealing with a crisis or wanted to publicise something.’
      • ‘He said that his client had been seen as a soft touch by other users who helped themselves to his drugs and his money.’
      • ‘They are no soft touch, as they proved again last night.’
      fool, simpleton, innocent, dupe, gull
      View synonyms


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