American English

Definition of soft adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (softer, softest)
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    not hard
  1. 1changing shape easily when pressed; not stiff or firm soft margarine soft feather pillows The grass was soft and springy.
  2. 2less hard than average soft rocks such as limestone soft cheeses opposite hard
  3. not rough
  4. 3smooth and pleasant to touch soft skin a dress made from the finest, softest silk opposite rough
  5. without angles/edges
  6. 4not having sharp angles or hard edges This season's fashions focus on warm tones and soft lines. The moon's pale light cast soft shadows.
  7. light/colors
  8. 5[usually before noun] not too bright, in a way that is pleasant and relaxing to the eyes a soft pink the soft glow of candlelight opposite harsh
  9. rain/wind
  10. 6not strong or violent synonym light A soft breeze rustled the trees.
  11. sounds
  12. 7not loud, and usually pleasant and gentle synonym quiet soft background music a soft voice
  13. sympathetic
  14. 8kind and sympathetic; easily affected by other people's suffering Julia's soft heart was touched by his grief. opposite hard
  15. not strict
  16. 9(usually disapproving) not strict or severe; not strict or severe enough synonym lenient soft (on somebody/something) The government is not becoming soft on crime. soft (with somebody) If you're too soft with these kids they'll never respect you. opposite tough
  17. crazy
  18. 10(informal) (disapproving) stupid or crazy He must be going soft in the head.
  19. not brave/tough enough
  20. 11(informal) (disapproving) not brave enough; wanting to be safe and comfortable Stay in a hotel? Don't be so soft. I want to camp out under the stars.
  21. too easy
  22. 12(disapproving) not involving much work; too easy and comfortable They had got too used to the soft life at home. opposite hard
  23. water
  24. 13not containing mineral salts and therefore good for washing You won't need much soap—the water here is very soft. opposite hard
  25. consonants
  26. 14(phonetics) not sounding hard, for example “c” in “city” and “g” in “general” opposite hard
  27. Idioms
    the easy/soft option (often disapproving)
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    a choice that is thought to be easier because it involves less effort, difficulty, etc. They are anxious that the new course should not be seen as a soft option. He decided to take the easy option and give them what they wanted. Thesaurusoptionchoice alternative possibilityThese are all words for something that you choose to do in a particular situation.option something that you can choose to have or do; the freedom to choose what you do:We are currently studying all the options available. He was given one month's imprisonment without the option of a fine. Option is also the word used in computing for one of the choices you can make when using a computer program:Choose the “Cut” option from the Edit menu.choice the freedom to choose what you do; something that you can choose to have or do:If I had the choice, I would stop working tomorrow. She has a number of choices available to her.alternative something that you can choose to have or do out of two or more possibilities:You can be paid in cash weekly or by check monthly: Those are the two alternatives.option, choice, or alternative?Choice is slightly less formal than option, and alternative is slightly more formal. Choice is most often used for “the freedom to choose,” although you can sometimes also use option (but not usually alternative):If I had the choice/option, I would… If I had the alternative, I would… parental choice in education parental option/alternative in education. Things that you can choose are options, choices, or alternatives. However, alternative is more frequently used to talk about choosing between two things rather than several.possibility one of the different things that you can do in a particular situation:We need to explore a wide range of possibilities. The possibilities are endless. Possibility can be used in a similar way to option, choice, and alternative, but the emphasis here is less on the need to make a choice, and more on what is available.Patterns with/without the option/choice/possibility >of>something a(n) good/acceptable/reasonable/possible option/choice/alternative the only option/choice/alternative/possibility >open to>somebody to have a/an/the option/choice >of doing something> to have no option/choice/alternative >but to>do something a number/range of options/choices/alternatives/possibilities
    an easy/a soft touch (informal)
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    a person that you can easily persuade to do something, especially to give you money Unfortunately, my father is no soft touch.
    have a soft spot for somebody/something (informal)
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    to like someone or something She's always had a soft spot for you.
noun [uncountable, singular] the softness of her skin the softness of the water see also softly
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: soft