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
Synonyms for soft
Related Words for softnesstenderness, flexibility, pliability, plasticity, malleability, heart, empathy, mercy, sympathy, kindness, humanity, charity
Examples from the Web for softness
Contemporary Examples of softness
But the softness, the muted quality in turn became an aesthetic.Digging the Gold in Dylan’s ‘Basement’
November 5, 2014
It prefers nonconfrontation, and calmness and softness of voice are valued when dealing with adversity.Obama's Awkward Indonesia Trip
Sahil Mahtani, Kenneth Weisbrode
November 7, 2010
Yet there is a softness in some of these moments that Borat lacked.The Brünos Who Surround Us
July 11, 2009
Historical Examples of softness
With his whole soul, he marvelled at her softness and relaxation.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
The least trace of softness in his voice would, I think, have broken down my temper.In the Valley
His skin still preserved the softness of his twenty-six years.L'Assommoir
And the immense sheet of water expanded beneath the softness of the sky.The Flood
The sun set, the evening was like the softness of springtime.The Fte At Coqueville
- 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
- militaryunarmoured, esp as applied to a truck by comparison with a tank
- gentle, sympathetic, or lenient towards
- feeling affection or infatuation for
Word Origin for soft
Old English softe, earlier sefte, "gentle, mild-natured; easeful, comfortable, calm, undisturbed; luxurious," from West Germanic *samfti, from Proto-Germanic *samftijaz "level, even, smooth, gentle, soft" (cf. Old Saxon safti, Old High German semfti, German sanft; and from a variant form with -ch- for -f-, Middle Dutch sachte, Dutch zacht, German sacht), from root *som- "fitting, agreeable."
From c.1200 of material things, "not stiff, not coarse, fine; yielding to weight." From late 14c. of wind, rain, etc. Of sounds, "quiet, not loud," from early 13c. Of words, "mild, restrained; courteous" mid-14c. From late 14c. as "indulgent," also "physically feeble; easily overcome, lacking manly courage." From 1755 of water ("relatively free from mineral salts"), from 1789 of coal. Meaning "foolish, simple, silly" is attested from 1620s; earlier "easily moved or swayed; soft-hearted, sympathetic; docile" (early 13c.). In reference to drinks, "non-alcoholic" from 1880. As an adverb, Old English softe "gently;" late 13c. as "quietly." As an interjection from 1540s.
Soft landing is from 1958 and the U.S. space program. Adjective soft-core (in reference to pornography) is from 1966 (cf. hardcore). Soft rock as a music style is attested from 1969. Soft sell is from 1955. Soft-shoe as a dancing style is attested from 1927. Soft-boiled is from 1757 of eggs; of persons, ideas, etc., 1930 (cf. half-baked). Soft-focus (adj.) of camera shots is from 1917. The softer sex "women collectively" is from 1640s.
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