Soft soap

Soft soap
Soap Soap, n. [OE. sope, AS. s[=a]pe; akin to D. zeep, G. seife, OHG. seifa, Icel. s[=a]pa, Sw. s?pa, Dan. s?be, and perhaps to AS. s[=i]pan to drip, MHG. s[=i]fen, and L. sebum tallow. Cf. {Saponaceous}.] A substance which dissolves in water, thus forming a lather, and is used as a cleansing agent. Soap is produced by combining fats or oils with alkalies or alkaline earths, usually by boiling, and consists of salts of sodium, potassium, etc., with the fatty acids (oleic, stearic, palmitic, etc.). See the Note below, and cf. {Saponification}. By extension, any compound of similar composition or properties, whether used as a cleaning agent or not. [1913 Webster]

Note: In general, soaps are of two classes, hard and soft. Calcium, magnesium, lead, etc., form soaps, but they are insoluble and useless. [1913 Webster]

The purifying action of soap depends upon the fact that it is decomposed by a large quantity of water into free alkali and an insoluble acid salt. The first of these takes away the fatty dirt on washing, and the latter forms the soap lather which envelops the greasy matter and thus tends to remove it. --Roscoe & Schorlemmer. [1913 Webster]

{Castile soap}, a fine-grained hard soap, white or mottled, made of olive oil and soda; -- called also {Marseilles soap} or {Venetian soap}.

{Hard soap}, any one of a great variety of soaps, of different ingredients and color, which are hard and compact. All solid soaps are of this class.

{Lead soap}, an insoluble, white, pliable soap made by saponifying an oil (olive oil) with lead oxide; -- used externally in medicine. Called also {lead plaster}, {diachylon}, etc.

{Marine soap}. See under {Marine}.

{Pills of soap} (Med.), pills containing soap and opium.

{Potash soap}, any soap made with potash, esp. the soft soaps, and a hard soap made from potash and castor oil.

{Pumice soap}, any hard soap charged with a gritty powder, as silica, alumina, powdered pumice, etc., which assists mechanically in the removal of dirt.

{Resin soap}, a yellow soap containing resin, -- used in bleaching.

{Silicated soap}, a cheap soap containing water glass (sodium silicate).

{Soap bark}. (Bot.) See {Quillaia bark}.

{Soap bubble}, a hollow iridescent globe, formed by blowing a film of soap suds from a pipe; figuratively, something attractive, but extremely unsubstantial. [1913 Webster]

This soap bubble of the metaphysicians. --J. C. Shairp. [1913 Webster]

{Soap cerate}, a cerate formed of soap, olive oil, white wax, and the subacetate of lead, sometimes used as an application to allay inflammation.

{Soap fat}, the refuse fat of kitchens, slaughter houses, etc., used in making soap.

{Soap liniment} (Med.), a liniment containing soap, camphor, and alcohol.

{Soap nut}, the hard kernel or seed of the fruit of the soapberry tree, -- used for making beads, buttons, etc.

{Soap plant} (Bot.), one of several plants used in the place of soap, as the {Chlorogalum pomeridianum}, a California plant, the bulb of which, when stripped of its husk and rubbed on wet clothes, makes a thick lather, and smells not unlike new brown soap. It is called also {soap apple}, {soap bulb}, and {soap weed}.

{Soap tree}. (Bot.) Same as {Soapberry tree}.

{Soda soap}, a soap containing a sodium salt. The soda soaps are all hard soaps.

{Soft soap}, a soap of a gray or brownish yellow color, and of a slimy, jellylike consistence, made from potash or the lye from wood ashes. It is strongly alkaline and often contains glycerin, and is used in scouring wood, in cleansing linen, in dyehouses, etc. Figuratively, flattery; wheedling; blarney. [Colloq.]

{Toilet soap}, hard soap for the toilet, usually colored and perfumed. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Soft soap — Soft 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Soft soap — can refer to one of the following: * a general purpose soap that is liquid or easily soluble, as opposed to a hard soap which will only dissolve sparingly. * a hygiene product made exclusively from natural oils. In this case soft prefix is a… …   Wikipedia

  • soft-soap — v [T] BrE informal to say nice things to someone in order to persuade them to do something ▪ Don t think you can soft soap me! >soft soap n [U] …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • soft soap — soft′ soap′ n. 1) inf persuasive talk; flattery 2) the semifluid soap produced when potassium hydroxide is used in the saponification of a fat or an oil • Etymology: 1625–35 soft′ soap′, v.t. v.i …   From formal English to slang

  • soft soap — ► NOUN 1) a semi fluid soap. 2) informal persuasive flattery. ► VERB (soft soap) informal ▪ use flattery to persuade …   English terms dictionary

  • soft-soap — verb transitive INFORMAL to be nice to someone when you want them to do something for you ╾ ,soft soap noun uncount …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • soft-soap — soft soaps, soft soaping, soft soaped VERB If you soft soap someone, you flatter them or tell them what you think they want to hear in order to try and persuade them to do something. [V n] The government is not soft soaping the voters here …   English dictionary

  • soft soap — n soap of a semifluid consistency made principally with potash and having various medical uses (as in the treatment of skin diseases) specif GREEN SOAP …   Medical dictionary

  • soft-soap — [sôft′sōp΄] vt. Informal to flatter soft soaper n …   English World dictionary

  • soft soap — n. 1. soap in liquid or semifluid form 2. Informal flattery or smooth talk …   English World dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

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