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 monologue (audio) , -​ˌlä-​ \ or monologist \ ˈmä-​nə-​ˌlȯ-​gist How to pronounce monologue (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 Late in the season, Moss delivers a monologue that is essentially a recap of the last three seasons — the most literal example to date of how The Handmaid's Tale repeats itself. Kristen Baldwin,, "The Handmaid's Tale season 4 review: Guys, just end it already," 23 Apr. 2021 The latter offered a bittersweet comedic monologue, written by playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick, that looked at living through the pandemic without the balm of live theater. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Broadway Theater Raises Curtain, Giving Glimpse of Post-Pandemic Return," 4 Apr. 2021 Beckett followed an elliptical path in a rapid-fire, 15-minute monologue to ponder what makes up a person’s conception of the self. Los Angeles Times, "Review: LACMA reopens with six shows that hint to what the future museum will be like," 1 Apr. 2021 On paper, Marie-Andrée is reduced to her desperation, Ajay to a few lines about his impoverished childhood, Herman to a last-minute monologue about his parents and World War II. Judy Berman, Time, "Netflix’s Serial Killer Drama The Serpent Is Nihilistic Murder Porn in Prestige True-Crime Packaging," 26 Mar. 2021 That line is part of a monologue for the ages, delivered by a mysterious character named Blake, whom Mamet created for the movie. Globe Staff,, "The play’s the thing? Not always on screen it isn’t," 18 Mar. 2021 Key to his monologue was a constant belittling of mainstream media outlets, even as his power grew greater than many of them. Matt Sedensky, Star Tribune, "Rush Limbaugh, radio king and architect of right wing, dies," 17 Feb. 2021 Lloyd plays hype man to Flagg, introducing him for the public execution, and Skarsgård gets some good time to monologue. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The Stand Recap: This Is the End," 4 Feb. 2021 Its historical reënactments and newsreel footage give rise to a wall-to-wall monologue that looks ahead to latter-day essay-films. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Sixty-two Films That Shaped the Art of Documentary Filmmaking," 14 Oct. 2020

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Monologue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for monologue



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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