[soft] adj [ME, fr. OE softe, alter. of sefte; akin to OHG semfti soft] (bef. 12c) 1 a: pleasing or agreeable to the senses: bringing ease, comfort, or quiet "the ~ influences of home" b: having a bland or mellow rather than a sharp or acid taste c (1): not bright or glaring: subdued (2): having or producing little contrast or a relatively short range of tones "a ~ photographic print" d: quiet in pitch or volume e of the eyes: having a liquid or gentle appearance f: smooth or delicate in texture, grain, or fiber "~ cashmere" "~ fur" g (1): balmy, mild, or clement in weather or temperature (2): moving or falling with slight force or impact: not violent "~ breezes"
2: demanding little work or effort: easy "a ~ job" 3 a: sounding as in ace and gem respectively--used of c and g or their sound b of a consonant: voiced c: constituting a vowel before which there is a /y/ sound or a /y/-like modification of a consonant or constituting a consonant in whose articulation there is a /y/-like modification or which is followed by a /y/ sound (as in Russian)
4. archaic: moving in a leisurely manner
5: rising gradually "a ~ slope"
6: having curved or rounded outline: not harsh or jagged "~ hills against the horizon" 7: marked by a gentleness, kindness, or tenderness: as a (1): not harsh or onerous in character "a policy of ~ competition" (2): based on negotiation, conciliation, or flexibility rather than on force, threats, or intransigence "took a ~ line during the crisis" (3): tending to take a soft line--usu. used with on "~ on dictators" "~ on law and order" b: tending to ingratiate or disarm: engaging, kind "a ~ answer turns away wrath --Prov 15:1 (RSV)" c: marked by mildness: unassuming, low-key
8. a: emotionally suggestible or responsive: impressionable b: unduly susceptible to influence: compliant c: lacking firmness or strength of character: feeble, unmanly d: amorously attracted or emotionally involved--used with on "has been ~ on her for years"
9. a: lacking robust strength, stamina, or endurance esp. because of living in ease or luxury "grown ~ and indolent" b: weak or deficient mentally "~ in the head"
10. a: yielding to physical pressure b: permitting someone or something to sink in--used of wet ground c (1): of a consistency that may be shaped or molded (2): capable of being spread d: easily magnetized and demagnetized e: lacking relatively or comparatively in hardness "~ iron" 11: deficient adj -- soft.ly adv -- soft.ness n
soft adv (bef. 12c): in a soft or gentle manner: softly soft n (15c): a soft object, material, or part "the ~ of the thumb"