\ˈsȯft \

Definition of soft 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : pleasing or agreeable to the senses : bringing ease, comfort, or quiet the soft 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 soft 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 soft cashmere soft fur

g(1) : balmy, mild, or clement in weather or temperature

(2) : moving or falling with slight force or impact : not violent soft breezes

2 : demanding little work or effort : easy a soft job

3a : 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 soft slope

6 : having curved or rounded outline : not harsh or jagged soft hills against the horizon

7 : marked by a gentleness, kindness, or tenderness: such as

a(1) : not harsh or onerous in character a policy of soft competition

(2) : based on negotiation, conciliation, or flexibility rather than on force, threats, or intransigence took a soft line during the crisis

(3) : tending to take a soft line usually used with on soft on dictatorssoft on law and order

b : tending to ingratiate or disarm : engaging, kind a soft answer turns away wrath — Proverbs 15:1 (Revised Standard Version)

c : marked by mildness : unassuming, low-key

8a : 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 soft on her for years

9a : lacking robust strength, stamina, or endurance especially because of living in ease or luxury grown soft and indolent

b : weak or deficient mentally soft in the head

10a : 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 soft iron

11 : deficient in or free from substances (such as calcium and magnesium salts) that prevent lathering of soap soft water

12 : having relatively low energy soft X-rays

13 of news : relatively less serious or significant

14 : occurring at such a speed and under such circumstances as to avoid destructive impact soft landing of a spacecraft on the moon

15 : not protected against enemy attack a soft aboveground launching site soft targets

16 : biodegradable a soft detergent soft pesticides

17 of a drug : considered less detrimental than a hard narcotic

18 : easily polarized used of acids and bases

19a of currency : not readily convertible

b of a loan : not secured by collateral

20a : being low due to sluggish market conditions soft prices

b : sluggish, slow a soft market

21 : not firmly committed soft unreliable political support

22 : soft-core soft porn

23a : being or based on interpretive or speculative data soft evidence

b : utilizing or based on soft data soft science

24 : being or using renewable sources of energy (such as solar radiation, wind, or tides) soft technologies

25 of money : contributed (as by a corporation) to a political party rather than directly to a particular candidate



Definition of soft (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a soft or gentle manner : softly



Definition of soft (Entry 3 of 3)

: a soft object, material, or part the soft of the thumb

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Other Words from soft


softish \ˈsȯf-tish \ adjective
softly \ˈsȯf(t)-lē \ adverb
softness \ˈsȯf(t)-nəs \ noun

Examples of soft in a Sentence


The ground was soft after the heavy rain. Iron and lead are soft metals. The rabbit's fur is soft. The room was painted in soft pink. the soft glow of the moon
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable but not sticky. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Artistry, flavor blends are marks of Moroccan," 10 July 2018 Angels & Hearts specializes in two things: rolled crêpes and intensely flavored soft serve. Pam Kragen,, "22 San Diego ice cream shops where you can cool off on this very hot day," 6 July 2018 Sonically, the songs thrived on dichotomies of loud/soft and pretty/grating; the effect was less to gild aggression with sweetness than to wring drama and verisimilitude from the feeling of internal conflict. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "What Linkin Park Gave to Pop Music," 25 June 2018 Close the lid and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the garlic is completely soft. San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Smoked Garlic Potato Salad," 6 June 2018 Linear ratings were down significantly from the freshman run, largely because of its much softer lead-in. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' Gets Another Lift," 13 July 2018 In addition to attacking May on Brexit, President Trump also praised her archrival, Boris Johnson, as a potential future prime minister while attacking London’s mayor as soft on crime and terrorism. Felicia Gans,, "Here are five things Trump talked about in his interview with The Sun," 13 July 2018 Add red bell peppers, red onions, celery, garlic, serrano chile, mustard seeds, bay leaves and thyme, and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Osayi Endolyn, WSJ, "Why Chefs Are Elevating Rice to Star Ingredient Status," 13 July 2018 With those tips and this wash-day recipe, your curls will be as springy and soft as a perfectly baked soufflé. Devon Abelman, Allure, "11 Curl-Washing Tips From Real Women With Kinky-Curly Hair," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

As Gordon, Allen thunders on stage and creates very nice chemistry with Denise, who is excellent as Gordon’s soft-hearted ex-wife Sarah, and with the other actors. Patti Restivo, Howard County Times, "Laurel Mill Playhouse presents 'Laughing Stock'," 6 July 2018 Becky Friedman, who owns the cafe along with Jason Schiavone and a silent partner, considers this weekend’s launch a soft open. Anna Muckerman,, "The Hoof Cafe coffee shop opens this weekend in Locust Point," 13 June 2018 Her elegant arms can appear velvety soft before stretching into sharp lines. New York Times, "The Poetic Justice of Stella Abrera’s Juliet," 8 June 2018 The addition of crisp snap peas and asparagus, along with prosciutto and soft boiled egg, all in harmony with a nuanced champagne vinaigrette, completed this straightforward charmer. Tim Smith,, "Diners can get a square deal at Square Meal, a Hotel Revival restaurant," 24 May 2018 As long as negotiations with North Korea are ongoing, the U.S. may soft-pedal its trade differences with China. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "How to Navigate the Tumult on Trade," 23 May 2018 Individually, the several-foot-long pieces are light enough to lift easily and soft enough to bend by hand. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Here's how a developer is turning a drab parking deck into a huge Charlotte art piece | Charlotte Observer," 15 May 2018 Royal Red Shrimp are also soft shelled, fragile and rarely shipped, making the Gulf Coast the best place to try the delicacy, but most places run it as a special. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Taste one of the world's rarest shrimp on the Gulf Coast," 10 May 2018 Yet the countdown to Harry and Meghan's big day has even turned a cynical media soft, driving them toward princess-isms that feminist moms have been steering their daughters away from for decades. Lorraine Ali,, "The royal wedding: Fairy tale or 'Game of Thrones'?," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The lander will attempt a soft, controlled landing near the Moon's southern pole and then let the rover out to roam. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "India Is Sending a Rover to the Moon in 2018," 25 Oct. 2017 Elizabeth Arden White Tea: Soft and pure, this fragrance leaves a subtle sea breeze surrounding the wearer. Vanity Fair, Vanities, "A Few of Our Favorite Fragrances of the Season," 21 Apr. 2017 Installation Soft foam is sprayed into stud cavities. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "Buying Guide: Insulation," 19 Nov. 2007

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'soft.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of soft


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for soft


Middle English, from Old English sōfte, alteration of sēfte; akin to Old High German semfti soft

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Statistics for soft

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for soft

The first known use of soft was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for soft



English Language Learners Definition of soft

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: easy to press, bend, cut, etc. : not hard or firm

: smooth and pleasant to touch

: having a very light color : not strong or bright in color or tone



English Language Learners Definition of soft (Entry 2 of 2)

: in a soft or gentle way

: in a way that is not strong or forceful


\ˈsȯft \
softer; softest

Kids Definition of soft

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not hard, solid, or firm a soft mattress

2 : smooth or pleasant to touch a soft silk

3 : having a soothing or comfortable effect : not bright or glaring soft lights soft colors

4 : quiet in pitch or volume soft voices

5 : not strong or forceful : gentle soft breezes a soft touch

6 : involving little work or effort : easy a soft job

7 : sounding like the letter c in ace or the letter g in gem

8 : easily affected by emotions : sympathetic and kind a soft heart

9 : lacking in strength or fitness He had grown soft from good living.

10 : free from substances that prevent lathering of soap soft water

11 : not containing alcohol soft drinks

Other Words from soft

softness noun


softer; softest

Kids Definition of soft (Entry 2 of 2)

: softly You hit the ball too soft.


\ˈsȯft \

Medical Definition of soft 

1 : yielding to physical pressure

2 : deficient in or free from substances (as calcium and magnesium salts) that prevent lathering of soap soft water

3 : having relatively low energy soft X-rays

4 : biodegradable soft pesticides

5 of a drug : considered less detrimental than a hard narcotic marijuana is usually regarded as a soft drug

6 : easily polarized used of acids and bases

7a : being or based on interpretive or speculative data soft evidence

b : utilizing or based on soft data soft science

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