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district in New York city, 1969, from "South of Houston Street," but probably also echoing the name of the London neighborhood (famous for vice by early 19c.), which was so called since at least 1630s, originally "So Ho," a hunting cry (c.1300) used in calling from a distant place to alert hounds and other hunters; the West End district was so called from earlier association of this area with hunting.
Flattery; cajolement; sweet-talk: I won her over finally with a lot of soft soap (1830+)verb
: We had to soft-soap the electorate pretty shabbily (1840+)