Definition of soliloquy in US English:



  • 1An act of speaking one's thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.

    • ‘It is true, of course, that Shakespeare's dramaturgy allows him soliloquies and asides that make it easier to dramatize thought, but Hamlet's thoughts are still necessarily externalized.’
    • ‘Even the play's slightly awkward structure, with its reminiscent soliloquies and resurrected hero, is made up for in Fugard's own production by the quality of the acting.’
    • ‘In the end, Georgeanne has a long soliloquy about what happened to everyone afterward, fiction even less convincing than the drama and poetry preceding it.’
    • ‘There seems to be both a haughty reserve that keeps us at a distance during the soliloquies, and an absence of inner mystery to tempt our curiosity in the first place.’
    • ‘It worked because in this play, the audience is truly a character, with the entire play consisting of the soliloquies of three characters telling their stories to the audience.’
    • ‘She did not - as she told it - interrupt the man with pesky questions about his pain but rather listened in an analytical way as if he were a character giving a soliloquy.’
    • ‘The ridiculous screenplay offers two cathartic scenes, both of which feature characters giving lengthy soliloquies (one in front of a tombstone, another in front of a video camera).’
    • ‘Statistics from the U.S. Census Report and quirky audience participation sections punctuate sociological debates, scuffles and tormented soliloquies by the characters.’
    • ‘Occasionally, during the action, a speech is highlighted as a soliloquy.’
    • ‘There were soliloquies from various characters describing what they were plotting, what they were going to do next.’
    • ‘His scenes play more as brief soliloquies; the characters voicing unspoken thoughts and memories, repeating phrases and exchanging salvos of opaque dialogue.’
    • ‘Typically, viewers gain this knowledge through one character's asides or soliloquies of which other characters are unaware or through the use of a chorus commenting on events.’
    • ‘Perched alone on a stage, a character engages in a soliloquy so as to unveil their innermost thoughts to the audience.’
    • ‘First the Laurence Olivier scene played on the projector screen; then Anne, a brave woman in the would-be class, read the soliloquy aloud.’
    • ‘In between the aimless, idle play and fear of legal and societal retribution, Green's characters deliver poignant soliloquies on abstract concepts like love, self-worth and the state of the world.’
    • ‘What adds to the ‘unbearable’ nature of this list of curses is their lack of development and drama; for, unlike many of Shakespeare's soliloquies, these lead to no internal insight or external action.’
    • ‘Rome communicates his internal dialogue through improvised soliloquies which combine Shakespeare's language with street lingo and gesticulations.’
    • ‘It begins and ends with soliloquies from the security-staff.’
    • ‘Shatner's 1968 release tried to capture the connection between drama and popular music with pairings of soliloquies of Shakespeare and classic literature with Sinatra and pop songs.’
    • ‘O'Neill is known for stylized dialogue, and the movie is unnaturally verbose, but the characters' long soliloquies often show us as much as they tell us.’
    monologue, speech, address, lecture, oration, sermon, homily, stand-up, aside
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    1. 1.1 A part of a play involving a soliloquy.
      • ‘The dissembling and physically deformed Richard, duke of Gloucester, reveals his true purpose in the opening soliloquy of Richard III.’


Middle English: from late Latin soliloquium, from Latin solus ‘alone’ + loqui ‘speak’.