\ˈsōl \

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

c : soul music

d : soul food

e : soul brother



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

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Examples of soul in a Sentence


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even in a room filled with Victoria's Secret Angels, all eyes were on regulation hottie, my heart and soul, the purest angel of them all, Shawn Mendes. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "A Victoria's Secret Angel Just Tried To Kiss Shawn Mendes on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Runway," 3 Dec. 2018 While Saigon has made gains of late, with splashy openings like the Factory Contemporary Arts Centre (a massive exhibition and cultural space), Hanoi remains the heart and soul of Vietnam’s art scene. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hanoi, Time and Again," 20 Nov. 2018 So the soldiers who greet the kids at the door and are the heart and soul of FAO Schwarz will be wearing my designs. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid Designed Something Special for the Reopening of New York’s Iconic FAO Schwarz," 24 Oct. 2018 Kyle Williams, the heart and soul of the team, gave an epic post-game locker room speech that day. Jennifer Williams, Fox News, "The Daily Spike: Meeting the Buffalo Bills' Kyle Williams (and going tailgating)," 21 Sep. 2018 The heart and soul of Disney's Smart House was an AI assistant named Pat. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "How Does Disney's Smart House Compare To Today's Smart Home Technology?," 7 Aug. 2018 This mismatch between her underlying vocation (healer) and her overarching job function (technician) is what fries her heart and soul. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 Scherzer is the heart and soul of the team, the early favorite to become the first man to wear a Curly W hat to the Hall of Fame. Chelsea Janes,, "Bryce Harper plays All-Star week host in a city he could soon be leaving," 13 July 2018 And his love-hate rapport with the hero of the show, Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan, is the heart and soul of the show, humanizing both of them. Matthew Gilbert,, "The best villains on TV," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Learn soul line-dances choreographed to R&B, jazz, gospel and Latin tunes. Linda Mcintosh,, "Woman of the Year awards given," 9 July 2018 Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh threw for nine touchdowns and was named the game's MVP., "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.

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First Known Use of soul


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


1958, 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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Statistics for soul

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for soul

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

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More Definitions for soul



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.


\ˈsōl \

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

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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 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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