Meaning of SOFT in English

soft S2 W2 /sɒft $ sɒːft/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative softer , superlative softest )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ softness , ↑ softener , SOFTIE/SOFTY ; verb : ↑ soften ; adverb : ↑ softly ; adjective : ↑ soft ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: softe ]


a) not hard, firm, or stiff, but easy to press OPP hard :

My feet sank into the soft ground.

the softest sofa and pillows

Cook the onions until they go soft.

b) less hard than average OPP hard :

a soft lead pencil

soft cheese

2 . NOT ROUGH having a surface that is smooth and pleasant to touch OPP rough :

a baby’s soft skin

The fur was soft to the touch.

3 . NOT LOUD a soft sound or voice, or soft music, is quiet and pleasant to listen to OPP loud , harsh :

soft music

His voice was softer now.

4 . COLOUR/LIGHT [only before noun] soft colours or lights are pleasant and relaxing because they are not too bright OPP bright :

All the stores will be re-fitted with softer lighting.

a soft shade of peach

5 . NO HARD EDGES not having any hard edges or sharp angles:

soft curves

6 . RAIN/WIND gentle and without much force:

a soft breeze

soft rain

7 . NOT STRICT someone who is soft seems weak because they are not strict enough with other people OPP strict , tough :

If you appear to be soft, people take advantage of you.

soft on

No politician wants to seem soft on crime.

Courts have been taking a soft line (=not being strict enough) with young offenders.

8 . SENSITIVE kind, gentle, and sympathetic to other people OPP hard :

He has a soft heart beneath that cold exterior.

a soft kiss

9 . WEAK CHARACTER not very brave and not having a strong character OPP hard :

Don’t be soft – just jump!

10 . SALES/MARKETS decreasing in price, value, or the amount sold:

soft oil prices

11 . soft loan/credit money that is lent at a lower interest rate than usual, because it will be used to help people in some way

12 . soft money money that people, companies, or organizations give to political parties, rather than to a particular ↑ candidate

13 . TOO EASY informal a soft job, life etc is too easy and does not involve much work or hard physical work:

Mike’s found himself a soft job in the stores.

soft option British English (=a choice that allows you to avoid difficulties or hard work)

Taking the soft option won’t help your career to develop.

14 . WEAK BODY informal having a body that is not in a strong physical condition, because you do not do enough exercise:

He’d got soft after all those years in a desk job.

15 . WATER soft water does not contain many minerals, so that it forms bubbles from soap easily

16 . have a soft spot for somebody to continue to like someone even when they do not behave well:

She’s always had a soft spot for Grant.

17 . a soft touch informal someone from whom you can easily get what you want, because they are kind or easy to deceive

18 . soft in the head old-fashioned very stupid or crazy

19 . STUPID British English stupid or silly:

You must be soft if you think I’ll give you fifty quid!

20 . be soft on somebody old-fashioned to be sexually attracted to someone

21 . CONSONANTS technical not sounding hard:

a soft g

—softly adverb :

She stroked his head softly.

Music played softly in the background.

—softness noun [uncountable]

• • •


▪ soft not hard, firm, or stiff, but easy to press:

a soft mattress


Her skin was lovely and soft.


soft ground

▪ tender used about meat or vegetables that are soft and easy to cut, especially because they have been well cooked:

The beef was very tender.


Cook the carrots until tender.

▪ soggy very wet and too soft, in a way that seems unpleasant – used about bread, vegetables, and the ground:

soggy cabbage


a piece of soggy bread


The ground was too soggy to walk on.

▪ squishy soft and easy to press – used especially about fruit that is too soft, and about soft wet ground which makes a noise when you walk on it:

squishy tomatoes


The leaves were squishy under our feet.

▪ squashy British English soft and easy to press – used especially about fruit that is too soft, and about chairs that are soft and comfortable:

The peaches have gone all squashy.


a big squashy sofa

▪ mushy used about fruit or vegetables that are very soft, wet, and unpleasant, because they are not fresh or have been cooked for too long:

mushy pieces of banana


a few mushy carrots

▪ spongy soft and full of holes that contain air or liquid like a sponge:

a spongy foam


a spongy loaf


His boots sank into the spongy soil.

▪ springy used about something that is soft and comes back to its normal shape after being pressed or walked on:

springy turf (=grass)


Her hair felt lovely and springy.

▪ pliable /ˈplaɪəb ə l/ used about a material or substance that can be bent or pressed without breaking or cracking:

The clay was still pliable and not too dry.

▪ yielding literary used about a surface which is soft and will bend when you press it:

yielding flesh


▪ tender meat/vegetables

▪ soggy ground/bread/vegetables/paper

▪ squishy fruit/ground

▪ squashy fruit/chair

▪ mushy fruit/vegetables

▪ spongy ground/texture/foam/loaf

▪ springy hair/turf/carpet

▪ pliable material/clay

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.