One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A semifluid soap, especially one made with potassium rather than sodium salts.
- ‘He worked down a pit, just like his father before him, and mining folk never use soft soap, either literally or figuratively.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Before using the insecticide, mix in a little soft soap, or soapy water, so that it adheres to the plants.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Slick, soft soap slipped humorously through my fingers, and my hand dove to catch it.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
2informal Persuasive flattery.
persuasion, wheedling, coaxing, inveiglementView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Use flattery in order to persuade or cajole (someone) to do something.
charm, attract, enchant, entrance, win over, woo, captivate, bewitch, spellbind, dazzle, blind, hypnotize, mesmerize, seduce, tempt, lead on, lure, entice, ensnare, entrapView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘They may have been soft-soaping us, but ‘forget those casinos, give us a castle any time’ seemed to be their mantra.’
- ‘That's easy: The empire has a horrendous debt load and Izzy was an old pro at soft-soaping the banks.’
- ‘There was no soft-soaping amongst the Councillors for the sake of the newcomer.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Keep it curt, Kenny, and stop soft-soaping us with your loquacity and verbosity.’
- ‘It is very easy to get cut off from ground reality in the face of rampant sophistry and soft-soaping in the corridors.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Top tips for CV writingRead more
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.