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
Examples from the Web for softly
“J.W. heard Hayden say softly, ‘You smell good,’” the papers report.
Kimberlin, who looks and softly speaks like a miniaturized clone of David Strathairn, could not lay a glove on his tormenter.
“Boom,” my boyfriend whispered to me softly when he noticed me looking out the window.
Silently, he moves to grab a kombo (a whisk broom instrument)—then, softly, he taps her shoulders and head.
And in the great new family, The family of the free, With softly spoken, kindly word Remember also me.Ukrainians in U.S. Warn: ‘Mr. Putin, Heroes Do Not Die’|Michael Daly|April 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But now, softly whispering through ten thousand leaves, how gently the whole tree yields to the impression!
Next came Silvio, in a softly upholstered cart drawn by two Peschiera boys.Heimatlos|Johanna Spyri
The two weeks on the ocean came and went as softly as flowers unfold and disappear.The Harris-Ingram Experiment|Charles E. Bolton
Trembling with excitement, I softly opened the gate and entered the grounds.That Affair at Elizabeth|Burton E. Stevenson
“That seemed just right,” said Robinette softly as she came out into the sunshine again, a few minutes later.Robinetta|Kate Douglas Wiggin
British Dictionary definitions for softly
- 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
- military unarmoured, esp as applied to a truck by comparison with a tank
- gentle, sympathetic, or lenient towards
- feeling affection or infatuation for
Derived Formssoftly, adverb
Word Origin for soft
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
- hard (soft) sell