Slang dictionary

soft life

[ sawft lahyf ]

What does soft life mean?

Soft life refers to a lifestyle of comfort and relaxation with minimal challenges or stress.

Some people use the term in reference to a life that involves (and is a product of) wealth and luxury, while others interpret it as simply being a simplified life unburdened from stress and responsibilities.

The term is often used in reference to moments that achieve this ideal (even if one’s entire life does not) or in aspirational statements about the kind of life a person wants to live.

The term has a long history of use as a general phrase, but it gained mainstream attention in 2022 in relation to a social media trend especially popular among Black TikTok users. It is often used as the hashtag #softlife.

Example: I quit my 9-to-5 job so I could leave the stress behind and just live the soft life.

Related words

slugging, goblin mode, hard pants, quiet quitting

Where does soft life come from?

woman reading book, farm house, blue filter

In soft life, the word soft is used in its informal sense meaning “easy; involving little effort; not difficult, laborious, trying, or severe.” The term soft life as a general phrase meaning “a life without difficulty” has been used since at least the mid-1600s. (A similar term is the good life, though this more strongly implies leisure and luxury.) Soft is used in a different way in the term soft girl.

The term soft life and the hashtag #softlife gained popularity in 2020 in relation to a trend in which many people began to advocate for a stress-free life of leisure in rejection of the struggle of having to work a stressful job. The trend especially gained popularity among young Black women.

By 2022, the term and trend had spread to TikTok, helping it to enter mainstream awareness. Many sources attribute the popularity of the trend to Nigerian influencers.

Examples of soft life

The goal is to live a soft life with my loved ones and be stress free ❤️
@I_Am_Winter, November 10, 2022
I've always been curious about Chinaza's move to Lagos. How did he hack it after living the soft life abroad? The infrastructure more or less works in England.
Chibundu Onuzo, NPR, August 2022

Who uses soft life?

The term soft life is primarily used on social media, including as the hashtag #softlife. It is especially popular among younger Black social media users, especially Black women.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of soft life like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of soft life that will help our users expand their word mastery.