[ sohp ]
/ soʊp /


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.
any metallic salt of an acid derived from a fat.
Slang. money, especially as used for bribery in politics.
Slang. Also soaper. soap opera.

verb (used with object)

to rub, cover, lather, or treat with soap.

Nearby words

  1. soaked to the skin,
  2. soakers,
  3. soaking,
  4. soane,
  5. soane, sir john,
  6. soap boiler,
  7. soap box derby,
  8. soap bubble,
  9. soap dish,
  10. soap flakes


    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)

Related formssoap·less, adjectivesoap·like, adjectiveo·ver·soap, verb (used with object)un·soaped, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for soap

British Dictionary definitions for soap


/ (səʊp) /



(tr) to apply soap to
(tr often foll by up) slang
  1. to flatter or talk persuasively to
  2. US and Canadian to bribe
Derived Formssoapless, adjectivesoaplike, adjective

Word Origin for soap

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

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

Word Origin and History for soap
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for soap


[ sōp ]


A cleansing agent that is made from a mixture of the sodium salts of various fatty acids of natural oils and fats.
A metallic salt of a fatty acid, as of aluminum or iron.
Related formssoap v.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for soap


[ sōp ]

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.

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.