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soft shoe (uncountable)

  1. (performing arts) A kind of tap dancing performed in soft-soled shoes, popular in vaudeville.
    • 12 December 2018, Charles Bramesco, AV Club A spoonful of nostalgia helps the calculated Mary Poppins Returns go down[1]
      Like the technically astounding and spiritually hollow production numbers, however, Blunt can’t situate the sentimental energy in a deeper foundation. Her excellence gets left in a sort of vacuum when paired with the fully extraneous train wreck of a visit with Meryl Streep as kooky Poppins cousin Topsy or some discomfiting soft shoe from a creaky Dick Van Dyke.
    • 1966 Jan. 15, "Sunday (TV listings)," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. 19 (retrieved 5 Oct 2008):
      Between Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Newley there's a delightful exhibition of the dances and their origin dating gack a few hundred years, from the clog to the buck, the wing, and the buck and wing, and on to the old soft shoe and more.
  2. (idiomatic) A speech, explanation, sales pitch, or other set of remarks delivered in a restrained or conciliatory manner in order to persuade, distract, or otherwise influence someone.
    • 2001 Nov. 26, Adam Piore, "Red, White And What A Deal!," Newsweek (retrieved 1 May 2014):
      Is the salesman's soft-shoe appropriate in a time of national mourning?

Usage notesEdit

  • Often used in the expression "the old soft shoe."


soft shoe (not comparable)

  1. (usually hyphenated) Of or pertaining to this kind of dancing.
  2. (idiomatic) Casual, low-key, easy-going.
    • 1958 Oct. 6, "Mellow Man in Charge," Time (retrieved 5 Oct 2008):
      Occasionally criticized for his soft-shoe approach (e.g., he urged the President to avoid a public squabble with Joe McCarthy), Persons nonetheless won many a legislator over to the Administration side.


soft shoe

  1. To perform a dance of this kind.