soft-soap

[sawft-sohp, soft-]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to use soft soap in washing.

Origin of soft-soap

First recorded in 1820–30

soft soap

noun
  1. Informal. persuasive talk; flattery: to use soft soap to get one's way.
  2. the semifluid soap produced when potassium hydroxide is used in the saponification of a fat or an oil.

Origin of soft soap

First recorded in 1625–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for soft-soap

Historical Examples of soft-soap


British Dictionary definitions for soft-soap

soft soap

noun
  1. med another name for green soap
  2. informal flattering, persuasive, or cajoling talk
verb soft-soap
  1. informal to use such talk on (a person)
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 soft-soap
n.

1630s, from soft (adj.) + soap (n.). Figurative sense "flattery" is recorded from 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

soft-soap in Culture

soft soap

Flattery: “Mary asked the boss to stop giving her a lot of soft soap about her performance and to start leveling with her like any other employee.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with soft-soap

soft soap

Flattery, cajolery, as in She's only six but she's learned how to get her way with soft soap. This colloquial expression alludes to liquid soap, likening its slippery quality to insincere flattery. Its figurative use was first recorded in 1830.

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