mono·​logue ˈmä-nə-ˌlȯg How to pronounce monologue (audio)
variants or less commonly monolog
: soliloquy sense 2
the monologue at the beginning of the scene
: a dramatic sketch performed by one actor
: the routine of a stand-up comic
The comedian's monologue about his family was hilarious.
: a literary composition written in the form of a soliloquy
Her poems were monologues about unrequited love.
: a long speech monopolizing conversation
I stifled a yawn as she continued her monologue about her vacation experiences.
monologuist noun
or monologist
ˈmä-nə-ˌlȯ-gist How to pronounce monologue (audio)

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web Advertisement At the top of the hour, Hall addressed the incident in a brief opening monologue. Malia Mendez, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 In a one-minute monologue, Karla laces into the emptiness of certain transactional gay relationships, her perspective that of a weary veteran of one too many conditional trysts. Louis Lucero Ii, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2024 But the trend of B-list (or worse) celebrities attempting a monologue from the Studio 8H stage has been a huge handicap for the show over the past few years. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 8 Apr. 2024 The monologue ended with Gosling handing Wiig her very own Five-Timers jacket. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, 7 Apr. 2024 During her 2015 Saturday Night Live monologue, Dakota Johnson had an interesting realization. Stephanie Sengwe, Peoplemag, 6 Apr. 2024 Joker the Harlequin’s first-person monologues and the dialogue zing with flashy acerbity and sardonic asides; the anti-comedic routines range from the uproariously null to the aggressively nihilistic. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 6 Apr. 2024 Then there’s the religion thing: a spirituality, freely accessed in his conversations and monologues, that mixes the gospel of Alcoholics Anonymous (he’s struggled with addiction himself) with his background in southern Christianity. James Parker, The Atlantic, 5 Apr. 2024 Another moment worth sharing is when Andre 3000 breaks from the flute into a monologue spoken in a foreign language. Anthony Bryant, Essence, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'monologue.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French monologue, from mon- + -logue

First Known Use

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of monologue was in 1549

Dictionary Entries Near monologue

Cite this Entry

“Monologue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also monolog
: a short dramatic work performed by one actor
: a long uninterrupted speech delivered by one person in the presence of others
monologuist noun
or monologist
mə-ˈnäl-ə-jəst How to pronounce monologue (audio)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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