View synonyms for softly


[ sawft-lee, soft‐ ]


  1. in a low pitch or volume; quietly:

    We spoke softly so as not to wake the baby.

    Jazz was playing softly in the background.

  2. Music. with a smoothly subdued and gentle sound:

    In this passage, the horns exit softly as the violins become more vibrant.

  3. in a way that is neither harsh nor glaring to the eye:

    The room was softly lit with a dimmed chandelier and six flickering candles.

  4. in a gentle, warm-hearted, or compassionate manner; tenderly; sympathetically:

    She softly embraced her son and reassured him of her love.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of softly1

First recorded in 1200–50; soft ( def ) + -ly ( def )
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Example Sentences

By 2011, Danlan had become so popular that Ma could no longer keep his identity a secret, which the softly spoken 43-year-old now calls “a blessing in disguise.”

From Time

This is because data protection agencies have mostly taken a softly-softly approach to bringing sites into compliance.

Movie theaters have been closed or, when softly reopened in pre-vaccine times, reserved exclusively for crazy people comfortable sitting in an enclosed space with strangers eating popcorn.

Although the man was paralyzed from the neck down, he imagined writing letters softly with his hand.

It then turned itself sideways in a “belly flop” maneuver and headed back to Earth before righting itself, reigniting its engines and touching down softly.

His peers remember him as a bright man who spoke softly and occasionally came across as a bit shy.

He played it through once, singing the lyrics softly to his own guitar accompaniment.

“J.W. heard Hayden say softly, ‘You smell good,’” the papers report.

He seemed to be here, there, everywhere, sitting under a tree softly strumming his guitar.

Kimberlin, who looks and softly speaks like a miniaturized clone of David Strathairn, could not lay a glove on his tormenter.

The two were standing together before the fire; Bernard watched Mrs. Vivian close the door softly behind her.

The next instant the door closed softly behind them, and she went out of his life as a wife forever.

Then the roof itself, with its gables and dormer windows, softly folded itself flat down upon the top of the house, out of sight.

She glanced up at him softly, under long lashes,—a thrilling glance; but he missed its radiance, for his own eyes were far away.

They were standing over the cots in the nursery late at night, and I think that Mamma was crying softly.





soft loansoftly-softly