adjective, soft·er, soft·est.
- (of a metal) easily magnetized and demagnetized.
- (of solder) fusing readily.
- (of a metal or alloy) fully annealed, so as to provide minimum mechanical hardness.
- (of a photographic image) having delicate gradations of tone.
- (of a focus) lacking in sharpness.
- (of a lens) unable to be focused sharply.
- (of consonants) lenis, especially lenis and voiced.
- (of c and g) pronounced as in cent and gem.
- (of consonants in Slavic languages) palatalized.Compare hard(def 38).
Origin of soft
Synonyms for soft
Related Words for softsilky, comfortable, elastic, pliable, smooth, fluffy, spongy, comfy, rounded, plastic, creamy, thin, easy, mushy, flexible, supple, delicate, velvety, low, pastel
Examples from the Web for soft
Contemporary Examples of soft
There were stomachs, taut and flat, but also undulating bellies, soft and bloated from the breakfast buffet.Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’
January 7, 2015
Francis is well into his seventies, looks it, has a mild demeanor and soft speaking style; but his rhetoric is electrifying.How Pope Francis Became the World’s BFF
December 21, 2014
My surgeon told me my bones were so soft he could barely install the screws.You’re Never ‘Cured’ of an Eating Disorder
December 20, 2014
On it a young beardless man speaks Chechen and Arabic with a soft accent.Fierce Fighting in Grozny Raises Specter of ISIS Influence in Russia
December 4, 2014
Reprinted by permission of Soft Skull Press, an imprint of Counterpoint.Living Black & Gay in the ’50s
December 3, 2014
Historical Examples of soft
She was quite still, and he noted from the change in her soft breathing that she slept.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
These he drove firmly into the soft bottom of a shallow lake.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Andrew Lanning was town bred and soft of skin from the work at the forge.
"He's layin' down," said Bill Dozier, and his voice was soft but audible in the saloon.
She was saying in a thick, soft voice, "It was wrong of you, my darling."Life and Death of Harriett Frean
- an older word for lenis
- (not in technical usage) denoting the consonants c and g in English when they are pronounced as palatal or alveolar fricatives or affricates (s, / dʒ /, / ʃ /, / ð /, / tʃ /) before e and i, rather than as velar stops (k, g)
- (in the Slavonic languages) palatalized before a front vowel or a special character (soft sign) written as Ь
- unprotected against attacka soft target
- militaryunarmoured, esp as applied to a truck by comparison with a tank
- gentle, sympathetic, or lenient towards
- feeling affection or infatuation for
Word Origin for soft
Old English softe, earlier sefte, "gentle, mild-natured; easeful, comfortable, calm, undisturbed; luxurious," from West Germanic *samfti, from Proto-Germanic *samftijaz "level, even, smooth, gentle, soft" (cf. Old Saxon safti, Old High German semfti, German sanft; and from a variant form with -ch- for -f-, Middle Dutch sachte, Dutch zacht, German sacht), from root *som- "fitting, agreeable."
From c.1200 of material things, "not stiff, not coarse, fine; yielding to weight." From late 14c. of wind, rain, etc. Of sounds, "quiet, not loud," from early 13c. Of words, "mild, restrained; courteous" mid-14c. From late 14c. as "indulgent," also "physically feeble; easily overcome, lacking manly courage." From 1755 of water ("relatively free from mineral salts"), from 1789 of coal. Meaning "foolish, simple, silly" is attested from 1620s; earlier "easily moved or swayed; soft-hearted, sympathetic; docile" (early 13c.). In reference to drinks, "non-alcoholic" from 1880. As an adverb, Old English softe "gently;" late 13c. as "quietly." As an interjection from 1540s.
Soft landing is from 1958 and the U.S. space program. Adjective soft-core (in reference to pornography) is from 1966 (cf. hardcore). Soft rock as a music style is attested from 1969. Soft sell is from 1955. Soft-shoe as a dancing style is attested from 1927. Soft-boiled is from 1757 of eggs; of persons, ideas, etc., 1930 (cf. half-baked). Soft-focus (adj.) of camera shots is from 1917. The softer sex "women collectively" is from 1640s.
In addition to the idioms beginning with soft
- soften up
- soft in the head
- soft job
- soft on
- soft pedal
- soft sell
- soft soap
- soft spot
- soft touch
- hard (soft) sell