soliloquy

noun
so·​lil·​o·​quy | \ sə-ˈli-lə-kwē How to pronounce soliloquy (audio) \
plural soliloquies

Definition of soliloquy

1 : the act of talking to oneself
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

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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 soliloquy in a Sentence

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 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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web What’s happening when Joe is doing his soliloquies, however, is far stranger than the monologues themselves. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "You Is Impossible To Watch Without Joe’s Stalker-y Voiceovers," 9 Jan. 2020 But his Blanche Devereaux-esque soliloquies offer eyebrow raises and chuckles from a befuddled cop (LaKeith Stanfield). Garrett Mitchell, Arizona Republic, Detroit Free Press, "All-star cast has fun in ‘Knives Out’; viewers will, too," 26 Nov. 2019 Rather than using the vascular system to send messages across meters-long distances, maybe plants release volatile chemicals as a faster, smarter way to communicate with themselves — Heil calls it a soliloquy. Quanta Magazine, "The Secret Language of Plants," 16 Dec. 2013 The video, which was altered, showed the Democratic Speaker of the House slurring in what appears to be a drunken soliloquy. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Facebook Is Banning Deepfake Videos Ahead of the 2020 Election," 8 Jan. 2020 After the loss, Von Miller went all Hamlet on us, baring his soul in a football soliloquy. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Broncos Insider: Courtland Sutton becomes 15th Denver player to reach milestone," 17 Dec. 2019 Characters hallucinate, deliver soliloquies to the camera, suck on fentanyl lollipops; episodes are interrupted by animated musical tutorials about troll farms, Roy Cohn, non-disclosure agreements. Darren Franich, EW.com, "The best TV shows of the decade," 5 Dec. 2019 But his Blanche Devereaux-esque soliloquies offer eyebrow raises and chuckles from a befuddled cop (LaKeith Stanfield). Garrett Mitchell, Arizona Republic, Detroit Free Press, "All-star cast has fun in ‘Knives Out’; viewers will, too," 26 Nov. 2019 But his Blanche Devereaux-esque soliloquies offer eyebrow raises and chuckles from a befuddled cop (LaKeith Stanfield). Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "An all-star cast has fun in 'Knives Out' and viewers do, too," 25 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'soliloquy.' 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 soliloquy

circa 1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for soliloquy

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

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Time Traveler for soliloquy

Time Traveler

The first known use of soliloquy was circa 1613

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Statistics for soliloquy

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Soliloquy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soliloquy. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for soliloquy

soliloquy

noun
How to pronounce soliloquy (audio)

English Language Learners 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

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