Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Easily molded, cut, or worked.
  • adj. Yielding readily to pressure or weight.
  • adj. Out of condition; flabby.
  • adj. Smooth or fine to the touch: a soft fabric.
  • adj. Not loud, harsh, or irritating: a soft voice.
  • adj. Not brilliant or glaring; subdued: soft colors.
  • adj. Not sharply drawn or delineated: soft charcoal shading; a scene filmed in soft focus.
  • adj. Mild; balmy: a soft breeze.
  • adj. Of a gentle disposition; tender.
  • adj. Affectionate: a soft glance.
  • adj. Attracted or emotionally involved: He has been soft on her for years.
  • adj. Not stern; lenient.
  • adj. Lacking strength of character; weak.
  • adj. Informal Simple-minded; foolish.
  • adj. Informal Easy: a soft job.
  • adj. Based on conciliation or negotiation rather than on threats or power plays: took a soft line toward their opponents.
  • adj. Gradually declining in trend; not firm: a soft economy; a soft computer market.
  • adj. Informal and entertaining without confronting difficult issues or hard facts: limited the discussion to soft topics.
  • adj. Using or based on data that is not readily quantifiable or amenable to experimental verification or refutation: The lawyer downplayed the soft evidence.
  • adj. Softcore.
  • adj. Being a turn in a specific direction at an angle less acute than other possible routes: a soft right.
  • adj. Of or relating to a paper currency as distinct from a hard currency backed by gold.
  • adj. Having low dissolved mineral content.
  • adj. Having a low or lower power of penetration: soft x-rays.
  • adj. Linguistics Sibilant rather than guttural, as c in certain and g in gem.
  • adj. Linguistics Voiced and weakly articulated: a soft consonant.
  • adj. Linguistics Palatalized, as certain consonants in Slavic languages.
  • adj. Unprotected against or vulnerable to attack: a soft target.
  • n. A soft object or part.
  • adv. In a soft manner; gently.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Giving way under pressure.
  • adj. Smooth and flexible.
  • adj. Gentle.
  • adj. Requiring little or no effort, easy
  • adj. Not bright or intense
  • adj. Having an acute angle.
  • adj. Quiet.
  • adj. voiced, sonant
  • adj. (rare) voiceless
  • adj. palatalized
  • adj. Lacking strength or resolve, wimpy.
  • adj. Low in dissolved calcium compounds.
  • adj. Foolish.
  • adj. Of a ferromagnetic material; a material that becomes essentially non magnetic when an external magnetic field is removed, a material with a low magnetic coercivity. (compare hard)
  • adj. Physically or emotionally weak.
  • adj. Incomplete, or temporary; not a full action.
  • adj. Effeminate.
  • interj. Be quiet; hold; stop; not so fast.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Easily yielding to pressure; easily impressed, molded, or cut; not firm in resisting; impressible; yielding; also, malleable; -- opposed to hard
  • adj. Not rough, rugged, or harsh to the touch; smooth; delicate; fine
  • adj. Hence, agreeable to feel, taste, or inhale; not irritating to the tissues.
  • adj. Not harsh or offensive to the sight; not glaring; pleasing to the eye; not exciting by intensity of color or violent contrast.
  • adj. Not harsh or rough in sound; gentle and pleasing to the ear; flowing.
  • adj. Easily yielding; susceptible to influence; flexible; gentle; kind.
  • adj. Expressing gentleness, tenderness, or the like; mild; conciliatory; courteous; kind.
  • adj. Effeminate; not courageous or manly, weak.
  • adj. Gentle in action or motion; easy.
  • adj. Weak in character; impressible.
  • adj. Somewhat weak in intellect.
  • adj. Quiet; undisturbed; paceful.
  • adj. Having, or consisting of, a gentle curve or curves; not angular or abrupt.
  • adj. Not tinged with mineral salts; adapted to decompose soap.
  • adj.
  • adj. Applied to a palatal, a sibilant, or a dental consonant (as g in gem, c in cent, etc.) as distinguished from a guttural mute (as g in go, c in cone, etc.); -- opposed to hard.
  • adj. Belonging to the class of sonant elements as distinguished from the surd, and considered as involving less force in utterance; , in contrast with p, t, k, s, f, etc.
  • adv. Softly; without roughness or harshness; gently; quietly.
  • n. A soft or foolish person; an idiot.
  • interj. Be quiet; hold; stop; not so fast.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Yielding readily to pressure; easily penetrated; impressible; yielding: opposed to hard: as, a soft bed; a soft apple; soft earth; soft wood; a soft mineral; easily susceptible of change of form; hence, easily worked; malleable: as, soft iron; lead is softer than gold.
  • Affecting the senses in a mild, smooth, bland, delicate, or agreeable manner.
  • Mild and agreeable; gentle; genial; kindly.
  • Smooth; flowing; not rough or vehement; not harsh; gentle or melodious to the ear: as, a soft sound; soft accents; soft whispers.
  • Not harsh or offensive to the sight; mild to the eye; not strong or glaring; not exciting by intensity of color or violent contrast: as, soft colors; the soft coloring of a picture.
  • Bituminous, as opposed to anthracitic: said of coal.
  • Nearly free from lime or magnesia salts, and therefore forming a lather with soap without leaving a curd-like deposit: said of water.
  • Unsized: as, soft paper.
  • Mild: noting the weather.
  • Moist; wet or rainy: as, a soft day.
  • Warm enough to melt snow or ice; thawing.
  • In phonetics, pronounced with more or less of a sibilant sound and without explosive utterance, as c in cinder as opposed to c in candle, g in gin as opposed to g in gift; also often used instead of sonant or voiced or the like for an alphabetic sound uttered with tone.
  • Tender; delicate.
  • Effeminate; lacking manliness, hardiness, or courage; easy to overcome; gentle.
  • Easily persuaded, moved, or acted upon; impressible; hence, facile; weak; simple; foolish; silly.
  • Slack; easy-going; without care or anxiety.
  • Mild; gentle; kind; sympathetic; easily touched or moved; susceptible; tender; merciful; courteous; not rough, rude, or irritating: as, soft manners.
  • Easy; gentle; steady and even, especially in action or motion.
  • In anatomy, not bony, cartilaginous, dentinal, etc.: as, the soft parts or soft tissues of the body: not specific.
  • When noting silk, having the natural gum removed by cleaning or washing: distinguished from hard.
  • In ichthyology, not spinous; soft-rayed: noting fins or fin-rays: as, a soft dorsal or anal (fin). See soft-finned, and cut under Malacopterygii.
  • In conchology and herpetology, soft-shelled.
  • In Crustacea, soft-shelled.
  • Synonyms Plastic, pliable.
  • Mellifluous, dulcet.
  • Compliant, submissive, irresolute.
  • and Mild, Bland, etc. See gentle.
  • n. A soft or silly person; a person who is weak or foolish; a fool. Also softy.
  • n. In United States politics: A member or an adherent of that one of the two factions into which in 1852 and succeeding years the Democratic party in the State of New York was divided which was less favorable to the extension of slavery.
  • n. A member of the pro-slavery wing of the Democratic party in Missouri about 1850. See hard, n., 5.
  • Softly; gently; quietly.
  • Go softly! hold! stop! not so fast!
  • To soften; make soft.
  • In archery, smooth and even in flexure and recoil: said of a bow.
  • n. plural Rags of loosely woven or knitted goods, such as flannel, hosiery, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. out of condition; not strong or robust; incapable of exertion or endurance
  • adj. (of speech sounds); produced with the back of the tongue raised toward the hard palate; characterized by a hissing or hushing sound (as `s' and `sh')
  • adj. mild and pleasant
  • adj. compassionate and kind; conciliatory
  • adj. (of a commodity or market or currency) falling or likely to fall in value
  • adj. produced with vibration of the vocal cords
  • adj. using evidence not readily amenable to experimental verification or refutation
  • adj. (of sound) relatively low in volume
  • adj. (of light) transmitted from a broad light source or reflected
  • adj. willing to negotiate and compromise
  • adj. not burdensome or demanding; borne or done easily and without hardship
  • adj. yielding readily to pressure or weight
  • adj. easily hurt
  • adj. having little impact
  • adj. used chiefly as a direction or description in music
  • adj. not protected against attack (especially by nuclear weapons)
  • adj. soft and mild; not harsh or stern or severe
  • adj. not brilliant or glaring
  • adv. in a relaxed manner; or without hardship
  • adj. tolerant or lenient

Etymologies

Middle English, pleasant, calm, from Old English sōfte.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English softe ("soft, easy, gentle, yielding"), from Old English sōfte, alteration of earlier sēfte ("soft, gentle, easy, comfortable"), from Proto-Germanic *samftijaz (“level, even, smooth, soft, gentle”), from *somaz (“agreeable, fitting”), from Proto-Indo-European *sem- (“one, whole”). Cognate with Dutch zacht ("soft"), German sanft ("soft, yielding"), Old Norse sœmr ("agreeable, fitting"), Old Norse samr ("same"). More at seem, same. (Wiktionary)

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