1 of 2


soft-soaped; soft-soaping; soft-soaps

transitive verb

: to soothe or persuade with flattery or blarney
soft-soaper noun

soft soap

2 of 2


: a semifluid soap made especially from potassium hydroxide
Choose the Right Synonym for soft-soap

cajole, coax, soft-soap, blandish, wheedle mean to influence or persuade by pleasing words or actions.

cajole suggests the deliberate use of flattery to persuade in the face of reluctance or reasonable objections.

cajoled him into cheating on the final exam

coax implies gentle and persistent words or actions employed to produce a desired effect.

coaxed the cat out of the tree

soft-soap refers to using smooth and somewhat insincere talk usually for personal gain.

politicians soft-soaping eligible voters

blandish implies a more open desire to win a person over by effusive praise and affectionate actions.

legislators blandished with promises of support

wheedle suggests more strongly than cajole the use of seductive appeal or artful words in persuading.

hucksters wheedling her life's savings out of her

Examples of soft-soap in a Sentence

Verb she cunningly soft-soaped her parents into letting her go on the trip shrewd voters who know when a politician is trying to soft-soap them Noun a salesman who knows the value of soft soap in making a sale
Recent Examples on the Web
Most of the questions aimed at the ironic American director of Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas were less softballs than soft soap, with reporters as interested in Scorsese’s favorite food — his mother’s lasagna recipe — as the movies in his peerless filmography. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Feb. 2024 Founder and creative director Joy Cho’s lifestyle brand offers whimsical products, spanning bandages to soft soap, as well as regular editorial content online. Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2021 For spills or stains, spot cleaning with soft soap like Zero or Woolite. Rachel Klein, Forbes, 3 Mar. 2021 Founder and Creative Director Joy Cho’s lifestyle brand offers whimsical products, spanning Band-Aids to soft soap as well as regular editorial content online. Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2021 Later, barber is seen crouching on his bed, holding lighted match under jam jar of water, soft soap and boot blacking. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 25 May 2020 Potassium hydroxide, on the other hand, produces an easily soluble soft soap. C. Claiborne Ray, New York Times, 6 Apr. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'soft-soap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1835, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of soft-soap was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near soft-soap

soft snap


soft soap

Cite this Entry

“Soft-soap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

soft soap

1 of 2 noun
: a partly liquid soap


2 of 2 verb
: to soothe or coax with flattery
soft-soaper noun

Medical Definition

soft soap

: soap of a semifluid consistency made principally with potash and having various medical uses (as in the treatment of skin diseases)
specifically : green soap
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