Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun so·lil·o·quy \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\

Simple Definition of soliloquy

  • : a long, usually serious speech that a character in a play makes to an audience and that reveals the character's thoughts

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of soliloquy

plural soliloquies

  1. 1 :  the act of talking to oneself

  2. 2 :  a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections

Examples of soliloquy in a sentence

  1. But if it is hard for the theatergoer to catch all the meanings in Macbeth's rippling soliloquies, then how much harder is that task when Shakespeare seems unable or unwilling to unpack his obscurities. —James Wood, New Republic, 26 June 2000

  2. A funny thing happened to Billy Joel on the way to the recording studio recently. “I was walking down the street,” he says, “and there was this big guy with long, stringy, greasy hair just talking to the air—screaming, actually. He was in the middle of this angry soliloquy when he looked at me, stopped and said in a regular voice, ‘Hey, Billy, how ya doin'?’ And then he went right back into his tirade.” —Elysa Gardner, Rolling Stone, 10 June 1993

  3. After Allen left, what became known as “The Tonight Show” fell into the hands of a genuine original. Jack Paar was an eminently normal-looking man, a former G.I. entertainer who planted himself at a desk instead of scampering around like Allen had. He would begin his shows in a low, well-modulated voice, exuding a dangerous calm. Then, periodically, but never predictably, he would lurch into disgruntled, pathetic soliloquies, decrying some indignity visited upon him by the network or the press. —Alex Ross, New Republic, 8 Nov. 1993

Origin of soliloquy

Late Latin soliloquium, from Latin solus alone + loqui to speak

First Known Use: circa 1613

Other Performing Arts Terms

Rhymes with soliloquy

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up soliloquy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


expressing little or no emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.