Nearby words

  1. soffit,
  2. soffritto,
  3. sofia,
  4. sofiya,
  5. sofrito,
  6. soft armor,
  7. soft chancre,
  8. soft clam,
  9. soft coal,
  10. soft commodities


    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

before 1000; Middle English softe yielding, gentle, mild, Old English sōfte agreeable; cognate with German sanft

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for softly

British Dictionary definitions for softly



easy to dent, work, or cut without shattering; malleable
not hard; giving little or no resistance to pressure or weight
fine, light, smooth, or fluffy to the touch
gentle; tranquil
(of music, sounds, etc) low and pleasing
(of light, colour, etc) not excessively bright or harsh
(of a breeze, climate, etc) temperate, mild, or pleasant
dialect drizzly or rainya soft day; the weather has turned soft
slightly blurred; not sharply outlinedsoft focus
(of a diet) consisting of easily digestible foods
kind or lenient, often excessively so
easy to influence or impose upon
prepared to compromise; not doctrinairethe soft left
informal feeble or silly; simple (often in the phrase soft in the head)
unable to endure hardship, esp through too much pampering
physically out of condition; flabbysoft muscles
loving; tendersoft words
informal requiring little exertion; easya soft job
chem (of water) relatively free of mineral salts and therefore easily able to make soap lather
(of a drug such as cannabis) nonaddictive or only mildly addictiveCompare hard (def. 19)
(of news coverage) concentrating on trivial stories or those with human interest
  1. an older word for lenis
  2. (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)
  3. (in the Slavonic languages) palatalized before a front vowel or a special character (soft sign) written as Ь
  1. unprotected against attacka soft target
  2. militaryunarmoured, esp as applied to a truck by comparison with a tank
finance, mainly US (of prices, a market, etc) unstable and tending to decline
(of a currency) in relatively little demand, esp because of a weak balance of payments situation
(of radiation, such as X-rays and ultraviolet radiation) having low energy and not capable of deep penetration of materials
physics (of valves or tubes) only partially evacuated
related to the performance of non-specific, undefinable taskssoft skills such as customer services and office support
soft on or soft about
  1. gentle, sympathetic, or lenient towards
  2. feeling affection or infatuation for


in a soft mannerto speak soft


a soft object, part, or piece
informal See softie

interjection archaic

Derived Formssoftly, adverb

Word Origin for soft

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

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 softly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with softly


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.