Etymology
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softly (adv.)

early 13c., "gently," from soft (adj.) + -ly (2).

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Definitions of softly

softly (adv.)
with low volume;
speak softly but carry a big stick
the radio was playing softly
Synonyms: quietly
softly (adv.)
in a manner that is pleasing to the senses;
she smiled softly
softly (adv.)
with little weight or force;
Synonyms: lightly / gently
softly (adv.)
used as a direction in music; to be played relatively softly;
Synonyms: piano
From wordnet.princeton.edu