definition of softnesses by The Free Dictionary

adj. soft·er, soft·est


a. Yielding readily to pressure or weight: a soft melon; a soft pillow.

b. Easily molded, cut, or worked: soft wood.

c. Sports Not tense and therefore capable of absorbing the impact of a ball or puck and of catching, receiving, or controlling it: a receiver with soft hands.

2. Out of condition; flabby: got soft sitting at a desk all day.

3. Smooth or fine to the touch: a soft fabric; soft fur.


a. Not loud, harsh, or irritating: a soft voice.

b. Not brilliant or glaring; subdued: soft colors.

5. Not sharply drawn or delineated: soft charcoal shading; a scene filmed in soft focus.

6. Mild; balmy: a soft breeze.


a. Tender or affectionate: a soft glance.

b. Attracted or emotionally involved: He has been soft on her for years.

c. Not stern; lenient: a coach who was soft on his players.

d. Lacking strength of character; weak: too soft for the pressure of being a spy.

e. Informal Simple-minded or foolish: He’s soft in the head.


a. Not demanding or difficult; easy: a soft job.

b. Based on conciliation or compromise: took a soft line toward their opponents.

c. Gradually declining in trend; not firm: a soft economy; a soft computer market.

d. Sports Scored on a shot that the goalie should have blocked: a soft goal.

9. Informal and entertaining without confronting difficult issues or hard facts: limited the discussion to soft topics.

10. Using or based on data that is not readily quantifiable or amenable to experimental verification or refutation: The lawyer downplayed the soft evidence.

11. Softcore.

12. Being a turn in a specific direction at an angle less acute than other possible routes: a soft right.

13. Of or relating to a paper currency as distinct from a hard currency backed by gold.

14. Having low dissolved mineral content: soft water.


a. Nonalcoholic.

b. Nonaddictive or mildly addictive. Used of certain drugs.

16. Having a low or lower power of penetration: soft x-rays.

17. Linguistics

a. Sibilant rather than guttural, as c in certain and g in gem.

b. Voiced and weakly articulated: a soft consonant.

c. Palatalized, as certain consonants in Slavic languages.

18. Unprotected against or vulnerable to attack: a soft target.

soft′ly adv.

soft′ness n.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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