Definition of soft soap in US English:

soft soap


  • 1A semifluid soap, especially one made with potassium rather than sodium salts.

    • ‘Slick, soft soap slipped humorously through my fingers, and my hand dove to catch it.’
    • ‘So passed Sunday, and Monday morning he was hard at work, sorting clothes, while Joe, a towel bound tightly around his head, with groans and blasphemies, was running the washer and mixing soft-soap.’
    • ‘Making the soft soap as well as actually doing the wash required a plentiful supply of water with the right pH balance, which could be corrected by adding soda or lye.’
    • ‘Mr Mason and his brother Charles had been running a soap company in Burlington Lane manufacturing soft soap, furniture polish and metal polish, when they foresaw a good trade for boot polish and engaged a chemist to devise a formula.’
    • ‘He worked down a pit, just like his father before him, and mining folk never use soft soap, either literally or figuratively.’
    • ‘If a little soft soap is dissolved with the mixture, it adheres much better to the foliage and is not so easily washed off by rain.’
    • ‘Before using the insecticide, mix in a little soft soap, or soapy water, so that it adheres to the plants.’
  • 2informal Persuasive flattery.

    ‘he started treating us as grown-ups, telling it straight with no soft soap’
    • ‘A broad smile split Ben's face, but something in Larrimore's expression made him wonder what all this soft soap was intended to prepare him for.’
    • ‘This is not the brave new world we were sold, like so much soft soap, by untold motion picture, pulp novel, and television traveling salesmen.’
    • ‘Governments will lay aside the soft soap and start levelling with us: ‘Look, we don't know.’
    • ‘If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.’
    persuasion, wheedling, coaxing, inveiglement
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[with object]informal
  • Use flattery in order to persuade or cajole (someone) to do something.

    ‘timeshare touts try to soft-soap you into buying abroad’
    • ‘It is very easy to get cut off from ground reality in the face of rampant sophistry and soft-soaping in the corridors.’
    • ‘LaBute probably empathizes with Byatt's 19 th-century poet Randolph Henry Ash, a tortured fool for love who is able to soft-soap intelligent women despite the ‘soft-core misogyny’ of his poetry.’
    • ‘They're going to allow us to continue hunting while the legal arguments go ahead, but that's just an attempt to soft-soap us so they won't have a fight when it comes to the General Election.’
    • ‘A group of Yorkshire housewives who refused to be soft-soaped in a row over hanging out their washing are celebrating victory.’
    • ‘Berbizier was never likely to soft-soap the situation in Italy.’
    • ‘They may have been soft-soaping us, but ‘forget those casinos, give us a castle any time’ seemed to be their mantra.’
    • ‘King touched his gloves in a gesture of congratulation, but Benn was not going to be soft-soaped by the promoter he reckoned had wanted him beaten.’
    • ‘There was no soft-soaping amongst the Councillors for the sake of the newcomer.’
    • ‘The links between dating and PR are obvious: there's the importance of self-presentation, a good phone manner, and an instinct for when to soft-soap or to hard-sell.’
    • ‘That's easy: The empire has a horrendous debt load and Izzy was an old pro at soft-soaping the banks.’
    • ‘Keep it curt, Kenny, and stop soft-soaping us with your loquacity and verbosity.’
    charm, attract, enchant, entrance, win over, woo, captivate, bewitch, spellbind, dazzle, blind, hypnotize, mesmerize, seduce, tempt, lead on, lure, entice, ensnare, entrap
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soft soap

/sôft ˈsōp//sɔft ˈsoʊp/