mono·​logue | \ ˈmä-nə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce monologue (audio) , -ˌläg \
variants: or less commonly monolog

Definition of monologue

1a : soliloquy sense 2 the monologue at the beginning of the scene
b : a dramatic sketch performed by one actor
c : the routine of a stand-up comic The comedian's monologue about his family was hilarious.
2 : a literary composition written in the form of a soliloquy Her poems were monologues about unrequited love.
3 : a long speech monopolizing conversation I stifled a yawn as she continued her monologue about her vacation experiences.

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Other Words from monologue

monologuist \ ˈmä-​nə-​ˌlȯ-​gist How to pronounce monologuist (audio) , -​ˌlä-​ \ or monologist \ ˈmä-​nə-​ˌlȯ-​gist How to pronounce monologist (audio) , -​ˌlä-​ , mə-​ˈnä-​lə-​jist , -​gist \ noun

Soliloquy vs. Monologue

Soliloquy and monologue cover very similar ground, but there are some important differences between the two words. Soliloquy (from the Latin solus “alone” and loqui “to speak”) at its most basic level refers to the act of talking to oneself, and more specifically denotes the solo utterance of an actor in a drama. It tends to be used of formal or literary expressions, such as Hamlet’s soliloquies. Monologue (from Greek monos "alone" and legein "to speak") may also refer to a dramatic scene in which an actor soliloquizes, but it has other meanings as well. To a stand-up comedian, monologue denotes a comic routine. To a bored listener, it signifies a long speech uttered by someone who has too much to say.

Examples of monologue in a Sentence

The play begins with the main character's monologue. The comedian is famous for his monologue about winning the lottery. I stifled a yawn as she launched into a monologue about how she is going to become a famous star.
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Recent Examples on the Web Fuldheim’s spirit came alive once again at the Rocky River Presbyterian Church on Feb. 22 in the figure of Carol Starre-Kmiecik who portrayed her in a one-woman monologue. cleveland, "The spirit of legendary newscaster Dorothy Fuldheim visits Rocky River church," 23 Feb. 2020 Instead of writing, these days Parker stands onstage eight times a week and delivers a monologue about writing. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Mary-Louise Parker Plays Professor," 6 Jan. 2020 In the trailer for Little Women, Saoirse Ronan’s Jo March gives a hot-blooded monologue about her experiences as a young woman trying to build a writing career. Teen Vogue, "Greta Gerwig's Little Women Shows Female Characters as People," 10 Dec. 2019 But the most sheerly entertaining villain proves to be Kane, who at one point delivers a rhapsodic, metaphor-laden monologue about the glories of lemon meringue pie. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Acceleration': Film Review," 7 Nov. 2019 Wazza works through the monologue admirably, doling out some mediocre material about Scouse-Washington relations before bringing the house down with some world-class 'My Wife' material., "8 Footballers Who Absolutely Have to Host Saturday Night Live," 9 Oct. 2019 Though naturally steeped in politics, the film is thankfully devoid of the anxious historical signifiers and patronizing monologues about freedom, truth, and human dignity that tend to mar American movies about the East–West conflict. Giles Harvey, Harper's magazine, "Home Truths," 10 Jan. 2019 During his revealing, at times rambling, five-minute monologue, the formerly powerful producer admitted to losing his train of thought. Leora Arnowitz, USA TODAY, "Read Harvey Weinstein's revealing, rambling statement ahead of sentencing," 11 Mar. 2020 Even more remarkable is that Thorn memorized the entire, 30-minute monologue, rather than read off cue cards. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The video was made by Philosophy Tube, the YouTube home of Oliver Thorn.," 2 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'monologue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of monologue

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for monologue

Middle French monologue, from mon- + -logue

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Time Traveler for monologue

Time Traveler

The first known use of monologue was in 1549

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Statistics for monologue

Last Updated

4 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Monologue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for monologue


How to pronounce monologue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of monologue

: a long speech given by a character in a story, movie, play, etc., or by a performer (such as a comedian)
: a long speech made by one person that prevents anyone else from talking

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