soul

noun
\ 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

soul

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for soul

Synonyms: Noun

psyche, spirit

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eyes are the windows to the soul. Say it with your eyes. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "Clinique Launches Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate to Hydrate Under-Eyes," 1 May 2019 Leyna Bloom, @leynabloom View this post on Instagram A post shared by Leyna Bloom (@leynabloom) on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:26am PDT Model and transgender activist, Leyna Bloom, has the most beautiful exterior with a stunning soul to match. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "20 Inspiring Beauty Instagram Accounts Led by Women of Color," 29 Apr. 2019 The hand-done, the homespun, and things crafted have taken the runways with full force, replacing the computerized and the techno-sleek with soul. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson Is Obsessed With Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Soon You Will Be Too," 12 Nov. 2018 Expect to focus less on becoming the very best that no one ever was and more on digging deep down into your heart to do some hard but necessary soul-searching. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "A new Pokémon Go clone lets players collect Catholic saints instead of monsters," 24 Oct. 2018 That success has been replaced by soul-searching, as Schoop’s season-long struggles at the plate have been synonymous with the Orioles’ general offensive decline this season. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles' Jonathan Schoop searches for form at the plate that made him an All-Star a year ago," 7 July 2018 There’s only a jukebox stocked with soul and blues classics, an old piano, and some tables and chairs and bar stools that wobble. John Carlisle, Detroit Free Press, "Tavern always on the rocks serves nostalgia with a twist," 18 June 2018 Rather, after some staff turnover and soul-searching, television, podcast, sketch, stand-up and social media satirists became a powerful point of contrast to the both-sides-ism that has plagued mainstream political media. Dan Jakes, Chicago Reader, "The Deckchairs can't make American political comedy great again," 15 June 2018 Luckily, this resourceful soul also had Von Hep's Isle of Tan Tan Eraser on hand. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Woman's Foot Self-Tanner Fail Is Going Viral on Instagram," 16 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Learn soul line-dances choreographed to R&B, jazz, gospel and Latin tunes. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Woman of the Year awards given," 9 July 2018 Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh threw for nine touchdowns and was named the game's MVP. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (Aug. 12): Soul stops Brigade in playoff opener," 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, "Montgomery County community calendar July 27-Aug. 3, 2017," 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, "This Miami music startup brings a recording studio to your phone," 23 June 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of soul

Noun

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

Adjective

1958, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for soul

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about soul

Statistics for soul

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for soul

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for soul

soul

noun

English Language Learners Definition of soul

: the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever
: a person's deeply felt moral and emotional nature
: the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc.

soul

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on soul

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with soul

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for soul

Spanish Central: Translation of soul

Nglish: Translation of soul for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of soul for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about soul

Comments on soul

What made you want to look up soul? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!