From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsoftsoft /sɒft $ sɒːft/ ●●● S2 W2 adjective (comparative softer, superlative softest) 1 not hard a) SOFTnot 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) SOFTless hard than average opp hard a soft lead pencil soft cheese2 not roughSOFT 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 loudCQUIET 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.► see thesaurus at quiet4 colour/light [only before noun]CCBRIGHT 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► see thesaurus at colour5 no hard edges not having any hard edges or sharp angles soft curves6 rain/windVIOLENT gentle and without much force a soft breeze soft rain7 not strictSTRICT 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 kiss9 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 prices11 → soft loan/credit12 → soft money13 too easy informalEASY 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 informalWEAK 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 waterHCWATER soft water does not contain many minerals, so that it forms bubbles from soap easily16 → have a soft spot for somebody17 → a soft touch18 → soft in the head19 stupid British EnglishSTUPID/NOT INTELLIGENT stupid or silly You must be soft if you think I’ll give you fifty quid!20 → be soft on somebody21 consonants technical not sounding hard a soft g —softly adverb She stroked his head softly. Music played softly in the background. —softness noun [uncountable]THESAURUSsoft not hard, firm, or stiff, but easy to pressa soft mattressHer skin was lovely and soft.soft groundtender used about meat or vegetables that are soft and easy to cut, especially because they have been well cookedThe 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 groundsoggy cabbagea piece of soggy breadThe 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 itsquishy tomatoesThe 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 comfortableThe peaches have gone all squashy.a big squashy sofamushy used about fruit or vegetables that are very soft, wet, and unpleasant, because they are not fresh or have been cooked for too longmushy pieces of bananaa few mushy carrotsspongy soft and full of holes that contain air or liquid like a spongea spongy foama spongy loafHis 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 onspringy turf (=grass)Her hair felt lovely and springy.pliable /ˈplaɪəbəl/ used about a material or substance that can be bent or pressed without breaking or crackingThe clay was still pliable and not too dry.yielding literary used about a surface which is soft and will bend when you press ityielding fleshCOLLOCATIONS CHECKtender meat/vegetablessoggy ground/bread/vegetables/papersquishy fruit/groundsquashy fruit/chairmushy fruit/vegetablesspongy ground/texture/foam/loafspringy hair/turf/carpetpliable material/clay
Examples from the Corpussoft• Compared with today's ideal, 19th-century ladies appear much softer.• He doesn't have the right personality to be an army officer, he's too soft.• Just because a guy is bright and plays the guitar doesn't mean he's soft.• Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until soft and beginning to brown at the edges.• Her hair was soft and silky.• A good moisturizer will leave your skin softer and smoother.• In the gap between the brassière and the pinched waistband of her skirt, her flesh bulged in a pale soft band.• a soft cheese• a selection of hard and soft cheeses• Apply the polish with a soft cloth.• Polish the chrome with a soft cloth.• The Lions play a perplexingly soft defense, where they willingly allow teams to throw short, underneath passes.• In the soft evening light Sonya looked ten years younger.• I leave the softer grades until the whole drawing is practically finished, to prevent unintentional smudging.• The walls were of plaster, painted soft green and decorated with silver and gold lozenges.• He spoke with a soft Irish accent.• Soft land prices have helped boost new home sales.• an expensive pair of soft leather gloves• Soft lighting creates a romantic atmosphere.• The guy on the right is younger, with a softer, more expressive face.• She fell over several times, but came to no harm in the soft new snow.• Reject any that are even slightly soft or in any way discoloured.• I need a softer pillow.• a soft pillow• He spoke in a whisper so soft that I could hardly hear it.• a whisper so soft that I could scarcely hear it• Analysts expressed fears of a softer U.S. market for large cars.go soft• Does this mean that Allen Ginsberg is going soft?• One spark of decency and Jack was going soft.• Her face goes soft and dreamy like the old days.• We aren't going to consume, and spend, and go soft and lie awake worrying about our pensions.• The days went soft as a sumptuous fog during this last season of isolated contentment we would enjoy.• Fearing that the commission has gone soft, some of Microsoft's competitors are threatening the firm with legal action.• It's becoming increasingly clear that Class War's gone soft, what with the film and the book.soft on crime• But criticism of the Stack nomination is not the same as accusing Clinton of being soft on crime.• Michael Dukakis as soft on crime.• On Saturday, Dole piled on, using Napolitano to blast Clinton judicial appointees as soft on crime.• Dole aides believe they can paint the president as soft on crime by hammering his judicial nominees.soft heart• He probably thought I had a soft heart.soft option• Just one proviso and it is one that everyone in our industry knows ... this business is no soft option.• Organisers deny it's a soft option.• So often in my life, where I've made a mistake, it has been by taking the soft option.• It argued that these were not soft options but properly applied would be tough penalties which aided the battle to reduce crime.• Probation should in no sense be seen as a soft option by the judiciary.• All my life I had chosen the soft options: good times, good company, good fun.• The soft option of imprisonment is not the answer!• And if anyone thinks this is a soft option - try a cliff-top route with a storm blowing.