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 ]
1 . NOT HARD
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
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 :
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:
6 . RAIN/WIND gentle and without much force:
a soft breeze
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.
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.
▪ 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:
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:
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:
■ COLLOCATIONS CHECK
▪ 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