soliloquy

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

1595–1605; From Late Latin sōliloquium in the title of St. Augustine's Soliloquiorum libri duo, from sōlus (only, sole) + loquor (I speak).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: səlĭlʹəkwē, IPA(key): /səˈlɪləkwi/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

soliloquy (plural soliloquies)

  1. (drama) The act of a character speaking to themselves so as to reveal their thoughts to the audience.
    At the end of the second act the main villain gave a soliloquy detailing his plans to attack the protagonist.
  2. A speech or written discourse in this form.
    • 1835, William Gilmore Simms, The Partisan, Harper, Chapter XI, page 135:
      The feeling of Singleton's bosom grew heightened in its tone of melancholy, and a more passionate emphasis of thought broke forth in his half-muttered soliloquy:— ¶"How I remember as I look []

Usage notes[edit]

Primarily used of theater, particularly the works of William Shakespeare, as a term of art, particularly for finely-crafted speeches. An archetype is the “To be or not to besoliloquy in Hamlet. In informal speech or discussions of popular culture, the term monologue is used instead, generally in a pejorative sense, suggesting that the speaker is a self-centered boor who won’t shut up.

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Verb[edit]

soliloquy (third-person singular simple present soliloquies, present participle soliloquying or soliloquing, simple past and past participle soliloquied)

  1. (very rare) To issue a soliloquy.

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