9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sohp] /soʊp/
a substance used for washing and cleansing purposes, usually made by treating a fat with an alkali, as sodium or potassium hydroxide, and consisting chiefly of the sodium or potassium salts of the acids contained in the fat.
any metallic salt of an acid derived from a fat.
Slang. money, especially as used for bribery in politics.
Slang.. Also, soaper. soap opera.
verb (used with object)
to rub, cover, lather, or treat with soap.
no soap, Informal. no go:
He wanted me to vote for him, but I told him no soap.
Origin of soap
before 1000; Middle English sope, Old English sāpe, cognate with German Seife, Dutch zeep, all < West Germanic (perhaps ≫ Latin sāpō; cf. saponify)
Related forms
soapless, adjective
soaplike, adjective
oversoap, verb (used with object)
unsoaped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for soap
  • If you have spider mites, blast their webs apart with a jet of water from a hose and follow up with a spray of insecticidal soap.
  • Use plastic cleaner or dish soap with cotton towels to clean frame top as needed.
  • They'd beat up kids for speaking their languages, or wash their mouths out with soap.
  • But the book contained cyphers, and that does not seem to involve a soap opera with returning lovers, but something else.
  • People used olive oil rather than soap to wash, so the water needed to be periodically skimmed by servants.
  • Lye is a caustic substance traditionally used to make soap.
  • Oh and washing with plain everyday soap and water is fine.
  • The second one warped because the kids got water and soap on the counter whenever they washed their hands.
  • soap and water have worked a visible cure already that goes more than skin-deep.
  • Any oil that doesn't run off on its own would be easily wiped away with water, making it unnecessary for a driver to use soap.
British Dictionary definitions for soap


a cleaning or emulsifying agent made by reacting animal or vegetable fats or oils with potassium or sodium hydroxide. Soaps often contain colouring matter and perfume and act by emulsifying grease and lowering the surface tension of water, so that it more readily penetrates open materials such as textiles See also detergent related adjective saponaceous
any metallic salt of a fatty acid, such as palmitic or stearic acid See also metallic soap
(slang) flattery or persuasive talk (esp in the phrase soft soap)
(informal) short for soap opera
(US & Canadian, slang) money, esp for bribery
(US & Canadian, slang) no soap, not possible or successful
(transitive) to apply soap to
(slang) (transitive) often foll by up
  1. to flatter or talk persuasively to
  2. (US & Canadian) to bribe
Derived Forms
soapless, adjective
soaplike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sāpe; related to Old High German seipfa, Old French savon, Latin sāpō
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for soap

Old English sape "soap, salve" (originally a reddish hair dye used by Germanic warriors to give a frightening appearance), from Proto-Germanic *saipon "dripping thing, resin" (cf. Middle Low German sepe, West Frisian sjippe, Dutch zeep, Old High German seiffa, German seife "soap," Old High German seifar "foam," Old English sipian "to drip"), from PIE *soi-bon-, from root *seib- "to pour out, drip, trickle" (cf. Latin sebum "tallow, suet, grease").

Romans and Greeks used oil to clean skin; the Romance language words for "soap" (cf. Italian sapone, French savon, Spanish jabon) are from Late Latin sapo "pomade for coloring the hair" (first mentioned in Pliny), which is a Germanic loan-word, as is Finnish saippua. The meaning "flattery" is recorded from 1853.


1580s, from soap (n.). Related: Soaped; soaping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
soap in Medicine

soap (sōp)

  1. A cleansing agent made from a mixture of the sodium salts of various fatty acids of natural oils and fats.

  2. A metallic salt of a fatty acid, as of aluminum or iron.

soap v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
soap in Science
A substance used for washing or cleaning, consisting of a mixture of sodium or potassium salts of naturally occurring fatty acids. Like detergents, soaps work by surrounding particles of grease or dirt with their molecules, thereby allowing them to be carried away. Unlike detergents, soaps react with the minerals common in most water, forming an insoluble film that remains on fabrics. For this reason soap is not as efficient a cleaner as most detergents. The film is also what causes rings to form in bathtubs. Compare detergent.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for soap


  1. soft soap (1854+)
  2. soap opera (1943+)

To flatter and cajole; sweet-talk: one of those Republicans who soaped Vivien (1853+)

Related Terms

no soap

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
soap in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
Related Abbreviations for soap


  1. Simple Object Access Protocol
  2. Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology
  3. Spectrometric Oil Analysis Program
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
soap in the Bible

(Jer. 2:22; Mal. 3:2; Heb. borith), properly a vegetable alkali, obtained from the ashes of certain plants, particularly the salsola kali (saltwort), which abounds on the shores of the Dead Sea and of the Mediterranean. It does not appear that the Hebrews were acquainted with what is now called "soap," which is a compound of alkaline carbonates with oleaginous matter. The word "purely" in Isa. 1:25 (R.V., "throughly;" marg., "as with lye") is lit. "as with _bor_." This word means "clearness," and hence also that which makes clear, or pure, alkali. "The ancients made use of alkali mingled with oil, instead of soap (Job 9:30), and also in smelting metals, to make them melt and flow more readily and purely" (Gesenius).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with soap


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for soap

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for soap

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with soap

Nearby words for soap