soul-search·​ing ˈsōl-ˌsər-chiŋ How to pronounce soul-searching (audio)
: examination of one's conscience especially with regard to motives and values

Examples of soul-searching in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her cancer diagnosis and subsequent death kicks off what little plot there is in Sabbath’s Theater, sending Mickey on a soul-searching quest through his relationships, past and present. Vulture, 2 Nov. 2023 The official Israeli response to those soul-searching questions is that for now the nation must wage war and those questions must and will be thoroughly studied. Avner Cohen, The Conversation, 14 Oct. 2023 And the violence came 50 years and a day after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when Israel was also surprised by an Arab attack on multiple fronts, leading to huge Israeli losses and soul-searching about the state of the country. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2023 South Alabama came into this season with high expectations after going 10-3 a year ago, but might have to do some soul-searching following Saturday’s loss. Creg Stephenson |, al, 2 Sep. 2023 The deaths inspired waves of books, articles and investigations of conspiracy theories, as well as a period of soul-searching among Britons, who resented the royal family’s standoffish behavior and were caught up in displays of mass grief. Robert D. McFadden, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2023 The incident is fueling nationwide soul-searching about sexism in sports, and in society at large. USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2023 Buoyed by the cost-of-living crisis and immigration angst, its rise has caused soul-searching for a country still mindful of its Nazi past. Kate Brady, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 This in turn prompted soul-searching among Ukraine’s Western backers while bolstering critics alarmed more at the cost of soaring food and energy prices than at Russia’s empire-building. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 14 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'soul-searching.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1924, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of soul-searching was in 1924

Dictionary Entries Near soul-searching

Cite this Entry

“Soul-searching.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: examination of one's conscience and especially one's reasons and values
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