[ sawft, soft ]
See synonyms for: softsoftersoftlysoftness on

adjective,soft·er, soft·est.
  1. yielding readily to touch or pressure; easily penetrated, divided, or changed in shape; not hard or stiff: a soft pillow.

  2. relatively deficient in hardness, as metal or wood.

  1. smooth and agreeable to the touch; not rough or coarse: a soft fabric; soft skin.

  2. producing agreeable sensations; pleasant or comfortable: soft slumber.

  3. low or subdued in sound; gentle and melodious: soft music;a soft voice.

  4. not harsh or unpleasant to the eye; not glaring: soft light;a soft color.

  5. not hard or sharp: soft outlines.

  6. gentle or mild: soft breezes.

  7. genial or balmy, as climate or air.

  8. gentle, mild, warm-hearted, or compassionate: a soft, grandmotherly woman.

  9. smooth, soothing, or ingratiating: soft words.

  10. not harsh or severe, as a penalty or demand.

  11. responsive or sympathetic to the feelings, emotions, needs, etc., of others; tender-hearted.

  12. sentimental or flowery, as language: soft, meaningless talk.

  13. not strong or robust; delicate; incapable of great endurance or exertion: He was too soft for the Marines.

  14. Informal. easy; involving little effort; not difficult, laborious, trying, or severe: a soft job.

  15. Informal. easily influenced or swayed; easily imposed upon; impressionable.

  16. lenient, permissive, or conciliatory, especially regarding something that is conceived of as dangerous or threatening: to be soft on Communism.

  17. (of water) relatively free from mineral salts that interfere with the action of soap.

  18. (of paper money or a monetary system) not supported by sufficient gold reserves or not easily convertible into a foreign currency.

  19. (of a market, market condition, or prices) declining in value, volume, profitability, etc.; weak: a soft tourist season.: Compare firm1 (def. 7).

  20. (of money) plentiful or available at low interest rates or on easy terms: a soft loan.

  21. Metallurgy.

    • (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.

  22. Photography.

    • (of a photographic image) having delicate gradations of tone.

    • (of a focus) lacking in sharpness.

    • (of a lens) unable to be focused sharply.

  23. Phonetics.

    • (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).

  24. Military. (of a missile-launching base) aboveground and relatively unprotected from enemy attack.

  25. Aerospace. (of a landing of a space vehicle) gentle; not harmful to the vehicle or its contents: a soft landing on the moon.

  26. Physics. (of a beam of particles or electromagnetic radiation) having relatively low energy: soft x-rays.: Compare hard (def. 40).

  27. (of a delegate, voter, etc.) not committed to any one candidate.

  28. Informal. foolish or stupid: soft in the head.

  29. (of a detergent) readily biodegradable.

  30. Baseball. lacking power or speed: a soft infield hit; a soft breaking pitch.

  1. something that is soft or yielding; the soft part.

  2. softness.

  1. in a soft manner.

  1. be quiet! hush!

  2. not so fast! stop!

Idioms about soft

  1. be soft on someone, Informal. to be amorously inclined toward a person; have an affection for: He's been soft on her for years.

Origin of soft

First recorded before 1000; Middle English softe “yielding, gentle, mild,” Old English sōfte “agreeable, comfortable”; cognate with German sanft

Other words for soft

Other words from soft

  • soft·ly, adverb
  • soft·ness, noun
  • o·ver·soft, adjective
  • su·per·soft, adjective
  • ul·tra·soft, adjective
  • un·soft, adjective
  • un·soft·ly, adverb

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

How to use soft in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for soft


/ (sɒft) /

  1. easy to dent, work, or cut without shattering; malleable

  2. not hard; giving little or no resistance to pressure or weight

  1. fine, light, smooth, or fluffy to the touch

  2. gentle; tranquil

  3. (of music, sounds, etc) low and pleasing

  4. (of light, colour, etc) not excessively bright or harsh

  5. (of a breeze, climate, etc) temperate, mild, or pleasant

  6. dialect drizzly or rainy: a soft day; the weather has turned soft

  7. slightly blurred; not sharply outlined: soft focus

  8. (of a diet) consisting of easily digestible foods

  9. kind or lenient, often excessively so

  10. easy to influence or impose upon

  11. prepared to compromise; not doctrinaire: the soft left

  12. informal feeble or silly; simple (often in the phrase soft in the head)

  13. unable to endure hardship, esp through too much pampering

  14. physically out of condition; flabby: soft muscles

  15. loving; tender: soft words

  16. informal requiring little exertion; easy: a soft job

  17. chem (of water) relatively free of mineral salts and therefore easily able to make soap lather

  18. (of a drug such as cannabis) nonaddictive or only mildly addictive: Compare hard (def. 19)

  19. (of news coverage) concentrating on trivial stories or those with human interest

  20. phonetics

    • 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, / /, / ʃ /, / ð /, / /) 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 attack: a soft target

    • military unarmoured, esp as applied to a truck by comparison with a tank

  21. finance, mainly US (of prices, a market, etc) unstable and tending to decline

  22. (of a currency) in relatively little demand, esp because of a weak balance of payments situation

  23. (of radiation, such as X-rays and ultraviolet radiation) having low energy and not capable of deep penetration of materials

  24. physics (of valves or tubes) only partially evacuated

  25. related to the performance of non-specific, undefinable tasks: soft skills such as customer services and office support

  26. soft on or soft about

    • gentle, sympathetic, or lenient towards

    • feeling affection or infatuation for

  1. in a soft manner: to speak soft

  1. a soft object, part, or piece

  2. informal See softie

  1. quiet!

  2. wait!

Origin of soft

Old English sōfte; related to Old Saxon sāfti, Old High German semfti gentle

Derived forms of soft

  • softly, adverb

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with soft


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

also see:

  • hard (soft) sell

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