\ ˈsōl How to pronounce soul (audio) \

Definition of soul

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
2a : the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe
b capitalized, Christian Science : god sense 1b
3 : a person's total self
4a : an active or essential part
b : a moving spirit : leader
5a : the moral and emotional nature of human beings
b : the quality that arouses emotion and sentiment
c : spiritual or moral force : fervor
6 : person not a soul in sight
7 : personification she is the soul of integrity
8a : a strong positive feeling (as of intense sensitivity and emotional fervor) conveyed especially by African American performers
b : cultural consciousness and pride among people of African heritage
d : soul food



Definition of soul (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of Black Americans or their culture
2 : designed for or controlled by blacks

Synonyms for soul

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of soul in a Sentence

Noun the souls of the dead He could not escape the guilt that he felt in the inner recesses of his soul. Some poor soul was asking for handouts on the street. a village of barely a hundred souls
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun What's the 411?, carving her own lane with her gritty but always vulnerable blend of soul and hip hop. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 16 May 2022 These arguments use Black women as little more than faceless proxies in a larger war of attrition for the nation's very soul. Peniel E. Joseph, CNN, 13 May 2022 His first stop, at around 10 p.m., was the Fillmore Miami Beach, an Art Deco-style theater where his buddies from Khruangbin, a Houston trio that blends rock with soul and psychedelia, were playing. New York Times, 13 May 2022 And a little bit of Darrell Mansfield (gospel, blues, blues rock, rock, country rock, and soul/R&B)andLarry Norman (RIP). Liza Lentini, SPIN, 13 May 2022 These felines rarely get fair treatment, and their care often falls solely to the kindest soul in the neighborhood. Cathy M. Rosenthal, San Antonio Express-News, 12 May 2022 But each song also has a thick spread of American rock and soul styles underneath, punched up by horns, piano and gospel background vocals. Marc Myers, WSJ, 11 May 2022 The folks at Ellis Brooklyn have whisked up a cologne overflowing with soul. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2022 Peck is now co-producing a documentary on the fabled Memphis soul and blues record company Stax, whose roster included Otis Redding, The Staple Singers, Albert King, Isaac Hayes, Little Milton, and others. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Learn soul line-dances choreographed to R&B, jazz, gospel and Latin tunes. Linda Mcintosh,, 9 July 2018 Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh threw for nine touchdowns and was named the game's MVP., 13 Aug. 2017 Harper’s Cabin Learn about the history, nutrition and culture of African American foods, and about how soul food became important to African American families, their churches and social gatherings. Washington Post, 26 July 2017 Among its fans is soul artist Jimmy Levy of Miami, who was encouraged by his manager to try RecordGram, Mendelson said. Nancy Dahlberg, miamiherald, 23 June 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of soul


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1957, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for soul


Middle English soule, from Old English sāwol; akin to Old High German sēula soul

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Time Traveler for soul

Time Traveler

The first known use of soul was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near soul



Soulard crab

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Statistics for soul

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Soul.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for soul


\ ˈsōl How to pronounce soul (audio) \

Kids Definition of soul

1 : the spiritual part of a person believed to give life to the body
2 : the essential or most important part of something This room is the soul of the house.
3 : a person who leads or stirs others to action : leader He was the soul of the campaign.
4 : a person's moral and emotional nature I felt my soul rebel against the injustice.
5 : human being : person a kind soul
6 : a style of music expressing deep emotion that was created by African-Americans

More from Merriam-Webster on soul

Nglish: Translation of soul for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of soul for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about soul


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