Webster 1913 Edition
sāpe; akin to D.
s[GREEK]be, and perhaps to AS.
sīpanto drip, MHG.
sīfen, and L.
A substance which dissolves in water, thus forming a lather, and is used as a cleansing agent. Soap is produced by combining fats or oils with alkalies or alkaline earths, usually by boiling, and consists of salts of sodium, potassium, etc., with the fatty acids (oleic, stearic, palmitic, etc.). See the Note below, and cf.
Saponification. By extension, any compound of similar composition or properties, whether used as a cleaning agent or not.
☞ In general, soaps are of two classes, hard and soft. Calcium, magnesium, lead, etc., form soaps, but they are insoluble and useless.
The purifying action of
soapdepends upon the fact that it is decomposed by a large quantity of water into free alkali and an insoluble acid salt. The first of these takes away the fatty dirt on washing, and the latter forms the
soaplather which envelops the greasy matter and thus tends to remove it.
Roscoe & Schorlemmer.
a fine-grained hard soap, white or mottled, made of olive oil and soda; – called also–
any one of a great variety of soaps, of different ingredients and color, which are hard and compact. All solid soaps are of this class.–
an insoluble, white, pliable soap made by saponifying an oil (olive oil) with lead oxide; – used externally in medicine. Called also–
Pills of soap
pills containing soap and opium.–
any soap made with potash, esp. the soft soaps, and a hard soap made from potash and castor oil.–
any hard soap charged with a gritty powder, as silica, alumina, powdered pumice, etc., which assists mechanically in the removal of dirt.–
a yellow soap containing resin, – used in bleaching.–
a cheap soap containing water glass (sodium silicate).–
a hollow iridescent globe, formed by blowing a film of soap suds from a pipe; figuratively, something attractive, but extremely unsubstantial.
soap bubbleof the metaphysicians.
J. C. Shairp.
a cerate formed of soap, olive oil, white wax, and the subacetate of lead, sometimes used as an application to allay inflammation.–
the refuse fat of kitchens, slaughter houses, etc., used in making soap.–
a liniment containing soap, camphor, and alcohol.–
the hard kernel or seed of the fruit of the soapberry tree, – used for making beads, buttons, etc.–
one of several plants used in the place of soap, as the–
Chlorogalum pomeridianum, a California plant, the bulb of which, when stripped of its husk and rubbed on wet clothes, makes a thick lather, and smells not unlike new brown soap. It is called also
soap bulb, and
a soap containing a sodium salt. The soda soaps are all hard soaps.–
a soap of a gray or brownish yellow color, and of a slimy, jellylike consistence, made from potash or the lye from wood ashes. It is strongly alkaline and often contains glycerin, and is used in scouring wood, in cleansing linen, in dyehouses, etc. Figuratively, flattery; wheedling; blarney.
hard soap for the toilet, usually colored and perfumed.
imp. & p. p.
p. pr. & vb. n.
To rub or wash over with soap.
To flatter; to wheedle.
Webster 1828 Edition