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adjective Cautious, tentative, gradual and careful, especially to an overbearing degree. (Also written "softly, softly.") I just wish his parents weren't so softly-softly with him all the time. The kid needs to learn how to be a bit more brazen and independent! I think we should take things a bit softly, softly at this stage in development.

a softly, softly approach

  (British & Australian)
a gradual way of solving a problem that shows patience and does not involve immediate action or force The recent unrest in the capital suggests that the government's softly, softly approach to reform is not working.
See also: approach, softly
References in classic literature ?
And while she gayly sung, the little weavers spun their silken threads, the flies on glittering wings flew lovingly above her head, and over all the golden light shone softly down.
Far as eye could reach were tall green trees whose drooping boughs made graceful arches, through which the golden light shone softly, making bright shadows on the deep green moss below, where the fairest flowers waved in the cool wind, and sang, in their low, sweet voices, how beautiful is Love.
Doves with gentle eyes cooed among the green leaves, snow-white clouds floated in the sunny shy, and the golden light, brighter than before, shone softly down.
Brighter shone the golden shadows; On the cool wind softly came The low, sweet tones of happy flowers, Singing little Violet's name.
Repairing to Durdles's unfinished house, or hole in the city wall, and seeing a light within it, he softly picks his course among the gravestones, monuments, and stony lumber of the yard, already touched here and there, sidewise, by the rising moon.
Jasper (always moving softly with no visible reason) contemplates the scene, and especially that stillest part of it which the Cathedral overshadows.
The Prince," he said softly, "is faithful to his ancient enmities.
I am not jealous," he said softly, "of the Prince of Saxe Leinitzer
He approached as softly as he could, and advancing so near the wall as to brush the whitened ivy with his dress, listened.
He laid his hand softly upon the latch, and put his knee against the door.
After a softly, softly return last year, organisers are pushing the boat out for 2015.
Both Softly and Everett will report to Adrian Walker, managing director, Products in Global Transaction Banking, while Corscadden will report to John Salter, director of Cash Management and Payments, part of managing director Donald Kerr's client coverage team.
1955 RubyMurray - Softly Softly THIS popular song was written in 1955 by Mark Paul and Pierre Dudan, with English lyrics by Paddy Roberts.
Which female vocalist had a number 1 hit with Softly Softly in 1955?
TRADING Standards officers in Aberdeen are adopting a softly, softly approach to the new tobacco ban.