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).

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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. However, the terms are not precisely synonymous; a monologue is held in the presence and directed toward other characters on the stage, whereas a soliloquy does not acknowledge the presence of any other stage characters if present, and is directed to the audience.

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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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