[ sohp ]
See synonyms for: soapsoapedsoaping on

  1. a substance used for washing and cleansing purposes, usually made by treating a fat with an alkali, as sodium or potassium hydroxide, and consisting chiefly of the sodium or potassium salts of the acids contained in the fat.

  2. any metallic salt of an acid derived from a fat.

  1. Slang. money, especially as used for bribery in politics.

  2. Slang.Also soaper. soap opera.

verb (used with object)
  1. to rub, cover, lather, or treat with soap.

Idioms about soap

  1. no soap, Informal. no go: He wanted me to vote for him, but I told him no soap.

Origin of soap

before 1000; Middle English sope,Old English sāpe, cognate with German Seife,Dutch zeep, all <West Germanic (perhaps ≫ Latin sāpō;cf. saponify)

Other words from soap

  • soapless, adjective
  • soaplike, adjective
  • o·ver·soap, verb (used with object)
  • un·soaped, adjective

Words Nearby soap Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use soap in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for soap


/ (səʊp) /

  1. a cleaning or emulsifying agent made by reacting animal or vegetable fats or oils with potassium or sodium hydroxide. Soaps often contain colouring matter and perfume and act by emulsifying grease and lowering the surface tension of water, so that it more readily penetrates open materials such as textiles: See also detergent Related adjective: saponaceous

  2. any metallic salt of a fatty acid, such as palmitic or stearic acid: See also metallic soap

  1. slang flattery or persuasive talk (esp in the phrase soft soap)

  2. informal short for soap opera

  3. US and Canadian slang money, esp for bribery

  4. no soap US and Canadian slang not possible or successful

  1. (tr) to apply soap to

  2. (tr often foll by up) slang

    • to flatter or talk persuasively to

    • US and Canadian to bribe

Origin of soap

Old English sāpe; related to Old High German seipfa, Old French savon, Latin sāpō

Derived forms of soap

  • soapless, adjective
  • soaplike, adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for soap


[ sōp ]

  1. A substance used for washing or cleaning, consisting of a mixture of sodium or potassium salts of naturally occurring fatty acids. Like detergents, soaps work by surrounding particles of grease or dirt with their molecules, thereby allowing them to be carried away. Unlike detergents, soaps react with the minerals common in most water, forming an insoluble film that remains on fabrics. For this reason soap is not as efficient a cleaner as most detergents. The film is also what causes rings to form in bathtubs. Compare detergent.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with soap


In addition to the idiom beginning with soap

  • soap opera

also see:

  • no dice (soap)
  • on one's soapbox
  • soft soap

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.