One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Photography. An attachment (typically a large button) for the shutter release of a camera which lessens the force required to open the shutter, reducing camera shake when taking a photograph.
2In wildlife conservation: the introduction of an animal into a new environment in which the animal is supported for an initial period, e.g. by being kept in an enclosed area allowing it to familiarize itself with its new surroundings or by being given supplementary food.
3Marketing. = "soft launch".
1940s; earliest use found in The New York Times. From soft + release.
soft release/ˌsɒf(t) rɪˈliːs/
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