soft / sôft/ • adj. 1. easy to mold, cut, compress, or fold; not hard or firm to the touch: soft margarine the ground was soft beneath their feet. ∎ having a smooth surface or texture that is pleasant to touch; not rough or coarse: soft crushed velvet her hair felt very soft. ∎ rounded; not angular: the soft edges of their adobe home.2. having a pleasing quality involving a subtle effect or contrast rather than sharp definition: the soft glow of the lamps the moon's pale light cast soft shadows. ∎ (of a voice or sound) quiet and gentle: they spoke in soft whispers. ∎ (of rain, wind, or other natural force) not strong or violent: a soft breeze rustled the trees. ∎ (of a consonant) pronounced as a fricative (as c in ice). ∎ (of a market, currency, or commodity) falling or likely to fall in value.3. sympathetic, lenient, or compassionate, esp. to a degree perceived as excessive; not strict or sufficiently strict: the administration is not becoming soft on crime Julia's soft heart was touched by his grief. ∎ (of words or language) not harsh or angry; conciliatory; soothing: he was no good with soft words, gentle phrases. ∎ not strong or robust: soft, out-of-shape executives in a computer company. ∎ inf. (of a job or way of life) requiring little effort. ∎ (of news or other journalism) regarded more as entertainment than as basic news: fashion is regarded as soft news. ∎ willing to compromise in political matters; moderate: candidates ranging from far right to soft left. ∎ inf. foolish; silly: he must be going soft in the head. ∎ (soft on) inf. infatuated with: was Brendan soft on her?4. (of a drink) not alcoholic: all they had was ginger ale and a few other soft drinks. ∎ (of a drug) not likely to cause addiction. ∎ (of water) free from mineral salts that make lathering difficult. ∎ (of radiation) having little penetrating power. ∎ (of a detergent) biodegradable. ∎ (also soft-core) (of pornography) suggestive or erotic but not explicit.• adv. softly: I can just speak soft and she'll hear me. ∎ in a weak or foolish way: don't talk soft.PHRASES: have a soft spot for be fond of or affectionate toward.soft option an easier alternative: probation should in no sense be seen as a soft option by the judiciary.soft touch (also easy touch) inf. a person who readily gives or does something if asked.DERIVATIVES: soft·ish adj.soft·ness n.ORIGIN: Old English sōfte ‘agreeable, calm, gentle’; related to Dutch zacht and German sanft.