From Middle English softe (“soft, easy, gentle, yielding”), from Old English sōfte, alteration of earlier sēfte (“soft, gentle, easy, comfortable”), from Proto-Germanic *samftijaz (“level, even, smooth, soft, gentle”) (compare *sōmiz (“agreeable, fitting”)), from Proto-Indo-European *semptio-, *semtio-, from *sem- (“one, whole”). Cognate with West Frisian sêft (“gentle; soft”), Dutch zacht (“soft”), German Low German sacht (“soft”), German sanft (“soft, yielding”), Old Norse sœmr (“agreeable, fitting”), samr (“same”). More at seem, same.
soft (comparative softer, superlative softest)
- Easily giving way under pressure.
- (of cloth or similar material) Smooth and flexible; not rough, rugged, or harsh.
- (of a sound) Quiet.
- Expressing gentleness or tenderness; mild; conciliatory; courteous; kind.
- Gentle in action or motion; easy.
- Weak in character; impressible.
- Requiring little or no effort; easy.
- Not bright or intense.
- Having a slight angle from straight.
- (linguistics) Voiced; sonant.
- (linguistics, rare) voiceless
- (linguistics, Slavic languages) palatalized
- (slang) Lacking strength or resolve; not tough, wimpy.
- (of water) Low in dissolved calcium compounds.
- (Britain, colloquial) Foolish.
- (physics) Of a ferromagnetic material; a material that becomes essentially non-magnetic when an external magnetic field is removed, a material with a low magnetic coercivity. (compare hard)
- (of a person) Physically or emotionally weak.
- Incomplete, or temporary; not a full action.
- (Britain, of a man) Effeminate.
- Agreeable to the senses.
- Not harsh or offensive to the sight; not glaring or jagged; pleasing to the eye.
- (photography, of light) Made up of nonparallel rays, tending to wrap around a subject and produce diffuse shadows.
- (archaic) Be quiet; hold; stop; not so fast.
soft (comparative more soft, superlative most soft)
- (obsolete) Softly; without roughness or harshness; gently; quietly.
soft (plural softs)
- A soft or foolish person; an idiot.
- (motorsports) Ellipsis of soft tyre (A tyre whose compound is softer than mediums, and harder than supersofts.)