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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener.
  • n. A specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse.
  • n. The act of speaking to oneself.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of a character speaking to himself so as to reveal his thoughts to the audience.
  • n. A speech or written discourse in this form.
  • v. To issue a soliloquy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of talking to one's self; a discourse made by one in solitude to one's self; monologue.
  • n. A written composition, reciting what it is supposed a person says to himself.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A talking to one's self; a discourse or talk by a person who is alone, or which is not addressed to any one even when others are present.
  • n. A written composition containing such a talk or discourse, or what purports to be one.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a (usually long) dramatic speech intended to give the illusion of unspoken reflections
  • n. speech you make to yourself

Etymologies

Late Latin sōliloquium : Latin sōlus, alone; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots + Latin loquī, to speak; see tolkw- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1595–1605; From Late Latin sōliloquium in the title of St. Augustine's Soliloquiorum libri duo, from sōlus ("only, sole") + loquor ("I speak"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The lengthy trumpet solo near the end, which the program notes advise is an orchestrated soliloquy from the opera on a John Donne poem, was only the most prominent example.

    Music review: Adams's 'Doctor Atomic' by BSO at Strathmore

  • Says Greenburg, noting the show also starred Brett Favre when his Hamlet-like soliloquy is once again being treated as news: "I'm happy with the show — an excellent show."

    Gutter talk snipes 'Joe Buck Live' debut

  • She or he has a fundamental interest in its practicability, in fact his or her own identity and degree of self-awareness depends upon it: the conversation of soliloquy is "our sovereign remedy and gymnastic method" (84).

    Post-Secular Conviviality

  • The “to be or not to be” soliloquy is presented against a vast seascape where waves crash wildly into massive shoreline stones.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • 1. 4Lady Macbeth speaks in soliloquy about driving a implicitly squeamish Mac. to seize a throne.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • He had a 400-word soliloquy that was all over the place, from supposed public puzzlement over some of the judge's decisions, a quip about the senator's son going to University of Pennsylvania, followed by the senator's recollection of speaking at Princeton.

    Flavia Colgan: Alito Drowning in Words

  • “You speak a soliloquy as if you were on the stage, and seem to account me a cipher,” said the old admiral suddenly.

    The Ball at Sceaux

  • In narrative, no doubt, the writer has the alternative of telling that his personages thought so and so, inferred thus and thus, and arrived at such and such a conclusion; but the soliloquy is a more concise and spirited mode of communicating the same information; and therefore thus communed, or thus might have communed, the Lord of Glenvarloch with his own mind.

    The Fortunes of Nigel

  • But there is still another way of avoiding the soliloquy, which is sometimes used with good results.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 3, 1914

  • These few remarks are called a soliloquy, being addressed rather to the world in general than to any particular person on the stage.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 3, 1914

Comments

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  • You don't say?

    January 26, 2008

  • Wonderful word.

    January 26, 2008

  • It is indeed a beautiful word to say out loud.

    November 12, 2007

  • What do I feel about this word? On the one hand it sounds beautiful: the vowels and consonants run into, over and through each other to form a word which seems to flow off my tongue. On the other hand I feel compelled to take some kind of stand against such a confusing spelling. Surely there should be an extra vowel after the "u"? Surely there should be something, well, different in it? The meaning is also not very useful: a long monologue in which the character (in a film or play) talks to himself (and to the audience) about his thoughts. Automonologue would be the far-less-elegant Greek-derived alternative. Having seen that I think I can conclude my own by saying I like it.

    December 7, 2006

  • What do I feel about this word? On the one hand it sounds beautiful: the vowels and consonants run into, over and through each other to form a word which seems to flow off my tongue. On the other hand I feel compelled to take some kind of stand against such a confusing spelling. Surely there should be an extra vowel after the "u"? Surely there should be something, well, different in it? The meaning is also not very useful: a long monologue in which the character (in a film or play) talks to himself (and to the audience) about his thoughts. Automonologue would be the far-less-elegant Greek-derived alternative. Having seen that I think I can conclude my own by saying I like it.

    December 7, 2006

  • What do I feel about this word? On the one hand it sounds beautiful: the vowels and consonants run into, over and through each other to form a word which seems to flow off my tongue. On the other hand I feel compelled to take some kind of stand against such a confusing spelling. Surely there should be an extra vowel after the "u"? Surely there should be something, well, different in it? The meaning is also not very useful: a long monologue in which the character (in a film or play) talks to himself (and to the audience) about his thoughts. Automonologue would be the far-less-elegant Greek-derived alternative. Having seen that I think I can conclude my own by saying I like it.

    December 7, 2006