soft


soft
soft adj Soft, bland, mild, gentle, smooth, lenient, balmy are applied to things with respect to the sensations they evoke or the impressions they produce and mean pleasantly agreeable because devoid of all harshness or roughness.
Soft is applied chiefly to what soothes, calms, or induces a sensation of delicious quiet
{

as sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle— Shak.

}
{

a soft answer turneth away wrath— Prov 15:1

}
{

ever, against eating cares, lap me in soft Lydian airs— Milton

}
{

to feel forever its soft fall and swell— Keats

}
This positive connotation is often apparent in the use of soft even when its major implication is the absence or the subduing of some quality (as pungency, vividness, intensity, or force); thus, a soft fragrance is lacking in richness but is quietly agreeable and not overpowering; a soft color is lacking in vividness, but it is mellow rather than dull; a soft voice though lacking in resonance is not faint or feeble but is pleasantly low and without harshness or stridency
{

the far shore of the river's mouth was just soft dusk— Galsworthy

}
{

the soft shock of wizened apples falling from an old tree— Millay

}
{

listen to Yuriko's voice as it floated, breathlike and soft, through the frail partitions— Mailer

}
Bland (see also SUAVE) may be interchangeable with soft, but it generally suggests smoothness and suavity and stresses the absence of whatever might disturb, excite, stimulate, or irritate; thus, foods and beverages which are not unpleasant to the taste yet tend toward the insipid or are lacking in pungency, tang, or richness of flavor or ingredients may be described as bland; a bland climate not only is free from extremes but is neither stimulating nor depressing
{

bland fruits such as bananas

}
{

the doctor prescribed a bland diet

}
{

there was an unusual softness to the dark air and the bland starlight and an unusual density to the darkness— Cheever

}
{

the whole shabby performance ... the bland reassurances instead of the hard dichotomies— Michener

}
{

full, clear, with something bland and suave, each note floated through the air like a globe of silver— Cather

}
Both mild and gentle stress moderation; they are applied chiefly to things that are not, as they might be or often are, harsh, rough, strong, violent, unduly stimulating, or irritating and are therefore pleasant or agreeable by contrast
{

a mild cigar

}
{

mild weather

}
{

a man of mild and simple character who . . . had shown no interest in anything at all except his collection of modern paintings— Dahl

}
{

a gentle breeze

}
{

a gentle heat

}
However, both words are capable of connoting positively pleasurable sensations, mild often being applied to what induces a feeling of quiet measured beauty or of serenity and gentle to what evokes a mood of placidity or tranquillity, or a sense of restrained power or force
{

a mild, rosy spring evening in which blackbirds sang on the budding boughs of the elms— Gibbons

}
{

some did shed a clear mild beam like Hesperus, while the sea yet glows with fading sunlight— Shelley

}
{

O gentle sleep, nature's soft nurse— Shak.

}
{

he was gentle, waiting for whatever he awaited with a grace she respected— Malamud

}
{

she had a gentle face, and her eyes were filled with compassion— Theodore Sturgeon

}
Smooth (see also EASY, LEVEL) in most of its senses suggests the absence or removal of all unevennesses or obstacles (as to use or enjoyment); often it comes close to mild in stressing the pleasant quality of what might be harsh or irritating, but unlike mild and bland it rarely if ever hints at weakness or insipidness. Distinctively it may approach mellow (which see under MATURE) and suggest qualities of excellence that come with time (as through ripening or aging) or are the result of careful and skilled handling that eliminates all harshness
{

a smooth whiskey

}
{

dancing every night to the island's smoothest orchestra— N. Y. Times

}
In reference to persons or their works and accomplishments (as in the arts) smooth may carry further the notion of care and skill in handling and suggest a polished finish stemming from experienced knowledge, ability or craftsmanship
{

Gottfried's style is urbane and smooth and full of understatement, but the story he tells is one of wild passion— Artz

}
{

behind the smooth perfor-mance of choir, organ and minister were hours of preparation and careful timing— Dawson & Wilson

}
{

they themselves were smooth in manner, and they saw to it that in their presence life had no rough edges— Webb

}
or, in a less complimentary sense, a slick sophistication or meretricious attractiveness
{

he may be an authentic wonder-worker, but he's also a smooth customer— Gilman

}
{

a smooth little blonde glides out of the bedroom— Time

}
{

a smooth wolf who has a highly polished technique in sidestepping marriage— Tilden

}
Lenient (see also FORBEARING) is applicable chiefly to things that are grateful to the senses or to the mind because they exert an emollient, relaxing, softening, or assuasive influence
{

earthly sounds, though sweet and well combined, and lenient as soft opiates to the mind— Cowper

}
{

in the lenient hush, strong torpid rhythms somehow flowed— E. P. O'Donnell

}
{

I poured her a lenient rum and water— Morley

}
Balmy also implies a soothing influence on the senses or mind, but beyond this it suggests refreshment and sometimes exhilaration. Coupled with one or another of these implications there is also frequently a suggestion of fragrance, especially the aromatic fragrance of balm- producing trees
{

all balmy from the groves of Tahiti, came an indolent air— Melville

}
{

a lovely soft spring morning at the end of March, and unusually balmy for the time of year— Butler d. 1902

}
{

in the balmy atmosphere of that second victory she basks today— Fishwick

}
Analogous words: moderated, tempered (see MODERATE vb): smooth, effortless, *easy: velvety, silken, *sleek, slick: serene, tranquil, *calm, placid, peaceful
Antonyms: hard: stern
Contrasted words: *rough, harsh, uneven, rugged: *intense, vehement, fierce, violent

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • soft — soft …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • soft — W2S2 [sɔft US so:ft] adj comparative softer superlative softest ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(not hard)¦ 2¦(not rough)¦ 3¦(not loud)¦ 4¦(colour/light)¦ 5¦(no hard edges)¦ 6¦(rain/wind)¦ 7¦(not strict)¦ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Soft — (s[o^]ft; 115), a. [Compar. {Softer} (s[o^]ft [ e]r); superl. {Softest}.] [OE. softe, AS. s[=o]fte, properly adv. of s[=e]fte, adj.; akin to OS. s[=a]fto, adv., D. zacht, OHG. samfto, adv., semfti, adj., G. sanft, LG. sacht; of uncertain origin.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • soft´ly — soft «sft, soft», adjective, adverb, noun, interjection. –adj. 1. a) not hard; yielding readily to touch or pressure: »a soft tomato, soft ground, a soft bed. b) easily bent without breaking; not stiff; flexible: »Oil keeps leather soft.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • soft — [ sɔft ] adjective *** ▸ 1 not stiff/firm/rough ▸ 2 gentle/pleasant ▸ 3 kind/sympathetic/gentle ▸ 4 not difficult ▸ 5 about water ▸ + PHRASES 1. ) a soft substance is easy to press or shape and is not hard or firm: George tripped, falling into… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • soft — [sɒft ǁ sɒːft] adjective 1. COMMERCE soft goods are used up soon after they are bought, for example food products: • Ohio s manufacturing base covers a wide range of soft and hard goods. • a soft commodity trader 2. FINANCE soft loans or soft… …   Financial and business terms

  • soft — [sôft, säft] adj. [ME < OE softe, gentle, quiet < sefte, akin to Ger sanft < IE base * sem , together, together with > SMOOTH, SAME: basic sense “fitting, friendly, suited to”] 1. giving way easily under pressure, as a feather pillow… …   English World dictionary

  • soft — agg.inv. ES ingl. {{wmetafile0}} 1. che ha caratteri o toni sfumati, tenui, attenuati: film soft, illuminazione soft, arredamento dalla linea soft 2. che comunica sensazioni gradevoli, piacevoli o rilassanti: musica soft, atmosfera, ambiente soft …   Dizionario italiano

  • soft — sȯft adj 1) yielding to physical pressure 2) deficient in or free from substances (as calcium and magnesium salts) that prevent lathering of soap <soft water> 3) having relatively low energy <soft X rays> 4) BIODEGRADABLE <soft… …   Medical dictionary

  • soft — Adj weich, sanft per. Wortschatz fremd. Erkennbar fremd (20. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. soft, das mit sanft verwandt ist. Unter Software werden in der EDV Technik die nicht unmittelbar zu den Geräten gehörigen Gebrauchsteile (Programme usw …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.