\ 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

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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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay; Malcolm X; soul singer Sam Cooke; and NFL star Jim Brown. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Regina King Is the First Black Female Director to Have a Film Selected at the Venice Film Festival," 8 Sep. 2020 Neo-soul singer Erykah Badu also has won praise for her own high-production performances. Neil Shah, WSJ, "In a Changed Music World, Cardi B Has a New Platform, and the Rolling Stones Conjure 1989," 7 Sep. 2020 But the demands for change also sparked soul-searching about their own roles in a massive criminal justice system that some had been a part of for decades. Washington Post, "32 Black federal prosecutors in Washington have a plan to make the criminal justice system more fair," 5 Sep. 2020 When a few hundred Nazis rioted in Charlottesville, the very soul of the country was at stake. David Harsanyi, National Review, "The Democrats Are Whitewashing Leftist Violence," 1 Sep. 2020 A hundred years later, and after national soul-searching over the soaring cost of insulin, some Americans are still starving themselves. Caitlin Hu, CNN, "With Canada and Mexico borders closed, Americans are trapped in their own healthcare system," 31 Aug. 2020 The Maori soul singer is well known in New Zealand but is about to step onto a global stage with the release of his first full-length album in February. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Teeks Is New Zealand’s Soulful Singer to Know," 19 Aug. 2020 Two months of strict lockdown and soul-searching about France's early mistakes seemed to put the country on track to vanquish COVID-19. Star Tribune, "Closed for vacation: France faces new virus testing troubles," 6 Aug. 2020 There’s a lot of soul-searching among the bunch between bullet-spraying, neck-breaking fights. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "Charlize Theron is a tough and moody superhero in Netflix action drama 'The Old Guard'," 8 July 2020 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


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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Statistics for soul

Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Soul.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for soul


How to pronounce soul (audio)

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 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

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