soul-searching

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

soul +‎ searching; the noun is derived from the adjective.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

soul-searching (comparative more soul-searching, superlative most soul-searching)

  1. Involving probing introspection, or a critical consideration of one's conscience, especially motives and values.

Noun[edit]

soul-searching (countable and uncountable, plural soul-searchings)

  1. Probing introspection; a critical consideration of one's conscience; also, an instance of such consideration.
    After much soul-searching I decided to confess.
    You’d better do some serious soul-searching before you decide to leave her.
    • 1974 September 8, Jerald F[ranklin] terHorst, letter of resignation as White House Press Secretary[1], quoted in Jerald F. terHorst, Gerald Ford and the Future of the Presidency, New York, N.Y.: Third Press, 1974, ISBN 978-0-89388-191-7, page 236:
      So it is with great regret, after long soul-searching, that I must inform you that I cannot in good conscience support your decision to pardon former President [Richard] Nixon even before he has been charged with the commission of any crime.
    • 2010 December 29, Chris Whyatt, “Chelsea 1 – 0 Bolton”, in BBC Sport[2], archived from the original on 6 March 2016:
      Much soul-searching is going on at the west London club who, just seven weeks ago, were five points clear at the top of the table and playing with the verve with which they won the title last season.
    • 2016 October 24, Owen Gibson, “Is the unthinkable happening – are people finally switching the football off?”, in The Guardian[3], London, archived from the original on 10 January 2017:
      And yet, arresting figures suggesting a decline in early season ratings have prompted an outbreak of soul‑searching at those broadcasters and head‑scratching among analysts.

Alternative forms[edit]