Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Yielding readily to pressure or weight.
  • adjective Easily molded, cut, or worked.
  • adjective Sports Not tense and therefore capable of absorbing the impact of a ball or puck and of catching, receiving, or controlling it.
  • adjective Out of condition; flabby.
  • adjective Smooth or fine to the touch.
  • adjective Not loud, harsh, or irritating.
  • adjective Not brilliant or glaring; subdued.
  • adjective Not sharply drawn or delineated.
  • adjective Mild; balmy.
  • adjective Tender or affectionate.
  • adjective Attracted or emotionally involved.
  • adjective Not stern; lenient.
  • adjective Lacking strength of character; weak.
  • adjective Informal Simple-minded or foolish.
  • adjective Not demanding or difficult; easy.
  • adjective Based on conciliation or compromise.
  • adjective Gradually declining in trend; not firm.
  • adjective Sports Scored on a shot that the goalie should have blocked.
  • adjective Informal and entertaining without confronting difficult issues or hard facts.
  • adjective Using or based on data that is not readily quantifiable or amenable to experimental verification or refutation.
  • adjective Softcore.
  • adjective Being a turn in a specific direction at an angle less acute than other possible routes.
  • adjective Of or relating to a paper currency as distinct from a hard currency backed by gold.
  • adjective Having low dissolved mineral content.
  • adjective Nonalcoholic.
  • adjective Nonaddictive or mildly addictive. Used of certain drugs.
  • adjective Having a low or lower power of penetration.
  • adjective Sibilant rather than guttural, as c in certain and g in gem.
  • adjective Voiced and weakly articulated.
  • adjective Palatalized, as certain consonants in Slavic languages.
  • adjective Unprotected against or vulnerable to attack.
  • adverb In a soft manner; gently.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In archery, smooth and even in flexure and recoil: said of a bow.
  • noun plural Rags of loosely woven or knitted goods, such as flannel, hosiery, etc.
  • Softly; gently; quietly.
  • Go softly! hold! stop! not so fast!
  • 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.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, pleasant, calm, from Old English sōfte.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

Comments

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  • "Go softly! hold! stop! not so fast!"

    -- from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    December 22, 2015

  • Moist.

    December 23, 2015

  • "But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?" Romeo and Juliet, II, 2.

    December 23, 2015