Etymology
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Words related to soft

hardcore 
also hard-core; 1936 (n.); 1951 (adj.); from hard (adj.) + core (n.). Original use seems to be among economists and sociologists, in reference to unemployables. Extension to pornography is attested by 1966. Also the name of a surfacing material.
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softball (n.)
baseball of larger than usual size, used in a scaled-down version of the game, 1914, from soft + ball (n.1). The game itself so called from 1916, also known as playground baseball. The word earlier was a term in sugar candy making (1894). Softball question, one that is easy to answer, is attested from 1976.
soften (v.)
late 14c., "to mitigate, diminish" (transitive), from soft (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "to make physically soft" is from 1520s; intransitive sense of "to become softer" is attested from 1610s. Soften up in military sense of "weaken defenses" is from 1940. Related: Softened; softening.
soft-hearted (adj.)
also softhearted, 1590s, from soft (adj.) "tender" + -hearted. Related: Soft-heartedly; soft-heartedness.
softly (adv.)
early 13c., "gently," from soft (adj.) + -ly (2).
softness (n.)
Old English softnes "ease, comfort; state of being soft to the touch; luxury;" see soft (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "weakness of character, effeminacy" is from c. 1600.
soft-pedal (v.)
"to tone down," 1915, figurative use from the noun (1856) in reference to the left foot-lever of a piano, which makes it quieter among other effects; from soft (adj.) + pedal (n.).
soft-shelled (adj.)
1611, from soft (adj.) + shell (n.).
soft-soap (n.)
1630s, from soft (adj.) + soap (n.). Figurative sense "flattery" is recorded from 1830.
soft-spoken (adj.)
c. 1600, from soft (adj.) + -spoken.