noun so·lil·o·quy \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\

Definition of soliloquy



  1. 1 :  the act of talking to oneself

  2. 2 :  a poem, discourse, or utterance of a character in a drama that has the form of a monologue or gives the illusion of being 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

Recent Examples of soliloquy from the web

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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.

Origin and Etymology of soliloquy

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

First Known Use: circa 1613

Other Performing Arts Terms

SOLILOQUY Defined for English Language Learners


noun so·lil·o·quy \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\

Definition of soliloquy for English Language Learners

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

Seen and Heard

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to criticize severely

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