Definition of soul in US English:



  • 1The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

    • ‘Even though our bodies die, we are made in the image of God, and thus we have souls that are immortal.’
    • ‘Theological liberalism ends with the destruction of immortal souls.’
    • ‘It ignores all the empirical evidence for animal awareness while resting on an assumption for which there is no evidence: that human beings but no other animals possess immortal souls.’
    • ‘According to folk religious beliefs, babies up to one year old don't have souls and can be considered like small animals.’
    • ‘Humans bear the spiritual imprint of God due to the fact that they possess an immortal soul.’
    • ‘The Greeks did believe that the soul could be immortal, but they would have been opposed to the notion of the immortality of the body.’
    • ‘The idea of possessing eternal life as an immortal soul attempts to rob death of its totality, and therefore of its sanctity.’
    • ‘Yet even Puritanism was, in the end, concerned with the individual soul, and individual salvation.’
    • ‘The new life of God - resurrection life - is implanted in the soul by the Holy Spirit.’
    • ‘Something more primal than the fall - the image of God - is impressed on the soul of each human person.’
    • ‘As it progresses through spiritual enlightenment, the soul realizes that God and it are one and the same.’
    • ‘A special Mass for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul II was celebrated at Carlow Cathedral on Monday night at 7.30 pm.’
    • ‘There are many theories which surround reincarnation - the notion that the soul of a dead person can re-establish itself within the body of another living being.’
    • ‘Mass for the repose of her soul was celebrated by Father Gilroy after which burial took place in Annagh Cemetery.’
    • ‘The spiritual life of the soul with God is wounded, often mortally.’
    • ‘It is common for visitors to a wake to say a short silent prayer for the soul of the dead person.’
    • ‘He taught them that the soul is immortal and that after death it migrates into other animated bodies.’
    • ‘God's plan is revealed by faith and shows us that humans have an immortal soul, a soul that embodies the potential for good and evil.’
    • ‘His message is almost uniformly positive and personal: it is about the individual soul's journey towards God, not any society's laws or customs.’
    • ‘I know the idea of animals having reincarnated human souls is hardly a new one… but this was an interesting idea to explore.’
    psyche, inner self, inner being, essential being
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    1. 1.1 A person's moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.
      ‘in the depths of her soul, she knew he would betray her’
      • ‘The holidays provide a different sort of nourishment - one that feeds the soul and indulges the senses.’
      • ‘A genuine artist, his fiery, passionate nature carried over to his work and transformed it into a feast for the senses that captured the soul.’
      • ‘I searched back through my consciousness, deep down into my soul where I sensed the pain hiding in my heart.’
      • ‘It's happy music, but it comes from our souls, from our emotional scars.’
      • ‘Some say that a reading an author's works is a window to their soul and identity.’
      • ‘He recalled what Harry had said to him so long ago, that the only way to cure the soul was through the senses.’
      • ‘This courage and spiritual help allowed her to do what she wanted to do all her life, undergo an operation so she could finally be what she in truth by the nature of her soul and her brain was: a woman.’
      • ‘His writing became a bellweather for the health of my soul and my sense of place in America.’
      • ‘Here at last one might find rest from our too frenetic world, and stopping, learn something for one's soul.’
      • ‘It felt like medicine to soothe the soul and awaken the senses.’
      • ‘These images, this news, does something to us, eats away at our souls and sense of hope for the world.’
      • ‘If you aren't fortunate enough to know, then it's hard to describe the way that nature can calm the soul, especially when you can afford the time for total immersion.’
      • ‘He describes each work as an extension of his soul and his culture.’
      • ‘San Miguel de Allende has become our home away from home, a retreat where we nourish our creative souls and recover our senses.’
      • ‘And for me, she was the greatest gift because she understood my soul and my spirit as an artist, even though I was a divinity student.’
      • ‘Mothering is a journey we experience with our whole selves: our senses, our souls, our emotions, our minds.’
      • ‘Somewhere in the deepest part of her soul, Mary could sense that this wasn't going to end well.’
      • ‘The essential oil of these lovely, purple, highly fragrant flowers can soothe your soul without sapping your energy.’
      • ‘Being in nature with understanding friends soothes the soul, calms emotional swings and might well provide respite from night sweats.’
      spirit, psyche, self, inner self, innermost self, ego, inner ego, inner being, true being, essential nature, animating principle, life force, vital force, inner man, inner woman
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  • 2Emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.

    ‘their interpretation lacked soul’
    • ‘And that spirit, that energy, that soul must mark all of the content.’
    • ‘I'd really love to see more expression, emotion and soul in games and their music - speaking as a gamer and musician.’
    • ‘With or without a perspex screen, Mr Shelley extracts the maximum dynamics from his instrument as he always pours all his energy and soul into his performances.’
    • ‘What sets Bensusan apart is the passion, soul, intensity, and rhythmic complexity that mark even his quietest and most elegant pieces.’
    • ‘Lacking in intensity and soul, the album comes off as a bland mix of all things electronic - in this café only decaf is on the menu.’
    • ‘What they do is take pop music, remove every ounce of soul, passion or energy and drone it into a mess of an attempt to make a band that 15 year old girls will drool over.’
    • ‘The choice of material is excellent and the performance is saturated with soul.’
    • ‘His shows are redolent of soul, intense emotion, and a deep connection to the music.’
    • ‘She sang them with heart and soul and with an intensity and passion that left many in the capacity audience emotionally drained.’
    • ‘Much has changed in the 54 years since my dad died, but among the things that have not changed are the spirit and the energy and soul of good newspapers.’
    • ‘Of course, the longer that lack of heart and soul and courage and energy remained, the more it became a way of being, a destructive habit.’
    • ‘Tony puts his heart and soul into every performance and he and the band delivered a fine ‘set’ for the appreciative supporters in Castlebar.’
    • ‘He put a lot of soul into his performance, from soft notes to high.’
    • ‘It's a good display of Barrino's emotion and soul and how it emerges on each song.’
    • ‘Their powerful physicality pulsated with life and soul, an effect these artists achieved through their use of color.’
    • ‘Gallic wit and subtlety are perfectly married to Russian soul in this performance.’
    inspiration, feeling, emotion, passion, animation, intensity, fervour, ardour, enthusiasm, eagerness, warmth, energy, vitality, vivacity, spirit, spiritedness, commitment
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    1. 2.1 African-American culture or ethnic pride.
    2. 2.2
      short for soul music
      • ‘To continue the relaxed vibe, there's also a great mix of jazz, soul and reggae.’
      • ‘Broken beat, for lack of a better term, encompasses underground dance music fused with soul, funk or jazz.’
      • ‘The station began in the early 90s with hip hop, soul and ragga music.’
      • ‘He was equally at home with jazz, blues, soul and country music.’
      • ‘Soca, ragga, R&B, hip hop, soul, funk, even techno and house music blares through hundreds of sound systems.’
      • ‘Tossing in elements of blues, rock, glam-rock, soul and metal, it's a wildly extravagant affair that is likely to put off as many people as it delights.’
      • ‘Listen to our music and you will hear elements of bluegrass and rock-a-billy through to soul, blues and rock.’
      • ‘Kaveh will also be playing reggae, Afro-beat, soul, hip hop, kwaito and raï.’
      • ‘If you've heard this man play, then you know he is a one-of-a-kind selector with the deepest love for jazz, funk, soul, reggae and Afro-Latin vibes.’
      • ‘It's bubbling with quirky grunge, liberally sprinkled with novelty hip-hop, soul and ska.’
      • ‘Between them they bring together rock, hip hop, metal, soul and reggae to form their own unique sound.’
      • ‘If you've ever wondered why no one ever dares to combine southern soul, dub reggae, folk and country well, wonder no more, dear reader.’
      • ‘Promising more of his signature mix of rock, soul and folk music, the album is also said to venture into new territory, while journeying back to explore some of his roots.’
      • ‘Funk, soul, jazz and reggae are all amply represented but these genres fail to reach all four corners of this unique masterpiece.’
      • ‘Their music was tried-and-true funky soul and bar-band balladry, and not a lick of it was ever going to see the top 40 if Brown could help it.’
      • ‘The band played impressive versions of numbers from just about every musical sphere including soul, reggae, trad and rock.’
      • ‘Cox is a master of breakbeat, mixing in soul, jazz, hip hop, dance hall and a whole lot more to produce a world class album.’
      • ‘At school I loved reggae and soul, one of my mates was a punk and lent me this record.’
      • ‘I've grown up listening to soul and as far as I'm concerned, R&B today is a progression of soul with a hip hop edge, bigger beats and I love it’
      • ‘His influences are abundant: blues, jazz, soul, lounge, girl groups, classic rock, funk and more.’
  • 3The essence or embodiment of a specified quality.

    ‘he was the soul of discretion’
    ‘brevity is the soul of wit’
    • ‘In public, at least, Kirk, who lives close to the Wight memorial in Thirsk, is the soul of diplomacy, maintaining that the amateur route will eventually reap dividends.’
    • ‘Kittie and Ariadne, you are the souls of good sense.’
    • ‘There are two women in Britain who make her look the soul of discretion, refinement and good taste.’
    • ‘He is the soul of Christian courtesy and charity.’
    embodiment, personification, incarnation, epitome, quintessence, essence
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    1. 3.1 An individual person.
      ‘I'll never tell a soul’
      • ‘Born when spring was in full bloom, you're an earthy soul with a refined sense of beauty.’
      • ‘But he's a tortured soul, old Jacques Brel, and I'd rather not be that tortured.’
      • ‘As I lazily drove back along the Esplanade, I reflected on all the poor souls huddled around office coffee machines in the city making small talk.’
      • ‘I tried to not let it show but I'm a terrible actress, but today really tried my patience and I may have snapped at poor unsuspecting souls.’
      • ‘But we poor deluded souls keep colouring our hair in the wildest and most atrocious colours possible.’
      • ‘Inevitably it was the poor souls huddling in the ground's last uncovered terracing who bore the brunt of the rain and hail sweeping into their faces; it is an ordeal they should not have to face next year.’
      • ‘One can only pity the poor soul who subjects herself to the media frenzy.’
      • ‘It turns out that these poor souls, as well as the millions who hold similar beliefs, really can't help themselves.’
      • ‘If my heart isn't in it, I feel I would be short-changing everyone involved, particularly the poor souls listening.’
      • ‘By Jove, some of them need a little brightening up, poor souls.’
      • ‘But among the candidates are 27 individual brave souls who are not affiliated to any party.’
      • ‘Visit on a Market day and it will inevitably be double parked, with some poor souls trapped there for the day whether or not they want to be.’
      • ‘It leads to a bunch of poor, confused souls sitting around trying to figure out what they're supposed to do, rather than what they want to do.’
      • ‘I have no doubt that I join all your readers with pity for the poor soul who can no longer get in and out of the bath and has to wash in the sink,.’
      • ‘And I'd be hard pressed to remember many of these poor souls, either by name or face.’
      • ‘Just don't bother them during the workday; they're busy indoors, poor souls.’
      • ‘These associations are exclusive ‘clubs’ where these poor deluded souls can imagine that they are figures of importance and influence in the local community.’
      • ‘But there is no doubt that Alice Springs is an exotic location, at least to those poor souls crammed on a Melbourne commuter train in winter drizzle.’
      • ‘Pity the poor soul who has all these problems at once!’
      • ‘I had to be forcibly stopped from standing on a table and openly apologising to the other poor souls who had been similarly treated - not to mention ripped-off - in my own country.’
      person, human being, individual, man, woman, man, woman, or child, human, being, living soul, mortal, creature, body
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    2. 3.2 A person regarded with affection or pity.
      ‘she's a nice old soul’
      • ‘Josie was a gentle soul who was highly regarded by his neighbours.’
      • ‘McGann specialises in playing sensitive souls, whose gentleness and vulnerability attract women with effortless ease.’
      • ‘Mary was a gentle soul who was held in fond regard by all who knew her.’
      • ‘A man of simple pleasures and infectious good humour, Joe was truly one of nature's gentle souls.’
      • ‘We haven't been in the company of nice souls like you for a long time now.’
      • ‘Your friend is a gentle soul and very suited to work among our people.’
      • ‘He might have been too gentle a soul for the furnace of the Old Firm, but if he were a spikier character he had plenty of evidence from which to formulate an assertive case for his own defence.’
      • ‘John was one of the old folk of the Trien area, a kindly soul who was held in fond regard by all his neighbours and friends.’
      • ‘As a youth, I was a friendly soul, palling around with all and sundry.’
      • ‘The brothers had always been identical in appearance, but usually Pockets was a cheery soul and easy to identify by his smile.’
      • ‘He was a gentle soul who was held in fond regard by those who knew him best.’


  • lost soul

    • 1A soul that is damned.

      • ‘God of the lost, God of the found, grant us the love to rejoice with each lost soul that is found, remembering that others welcomed us when we were gathered in.’
      • ‘Now, I'm a lost soul, pursued by devils that torment me day and night; they keep pushing me on and on.’
      • ‘If anyone misses repentance he will miss salvation, he is not in possession of eternal life, he does not have forgiveness of sin, he is a lost soul and without God and without hope in this world and the world to come.’
      • ‘This unusual narrative recounts the revelations of a lost soul to a former acquaintance; it is a powerful record of the steps which led a young woman to lose her soul in Hell for all eternity.’
      • ‘Divine love will not transform the lost soul or readers who are this type.’
      • ‘My job as a born again Christian is to have a burden for lost souls and by listening to all that you have said... yours is lost.’
      • ‘As one minister phrased it, ‘The greatest thing in the world is to lead a lost soul to Christ.’’
      • ‘We're left with a fairly grim depiction of a lost soul sinking deeper into a swamp of his own making - not a very edifying cinema experience.’
      • ‘On the contrary, to judge by the entries in his Journal at this time, he tended to regard himself very much as a sinner and a lost soul.’
      • ‘I am a lost soul who has found everything they need.’
      1. 1.1humorous A person who seems unable to cope with everyday life.
        • ‘One such lost soul turned up at my office door earlier today.’
        • ‘Buzzell was a lost soul, waiting for a thunderbolt to blast him out of his dead-end existence.’
        • ‘Kevin, would you happen to have room for another lost soul at your house for a little while?’
        • ‘He is an emotionless, lost soul wandering the streets and helping out strangers while looking for a clean razor and dry cleaner for his dirty overcoat!’
        • ‘Struggling to suppress his trademark intelligence, he plays a doughy, shambling, lost soul.’
        • ‘While not locked in his office, he wanders the corridors like a lost soul.’
        • ‘The nice thing is that everyone left at 12, so I have the entire building to myself - and have locked my office door in case some lost soul wanders by looking for help I can't give.’
        • ‘She meets Robert, a dentist, whose life appears conventional, but is in fact a fellow lost soul.’
        • ‘Just a half hour ago he was looking like a lost soul, and now he's prancing around, giddy as a schoolgirl.’
        • ‘My brother James, as I am sure I have mentioned before, is a bit of a lost soul.’
  • upon my soul

    • dated An exclamation of surprise.

      • ‘'Arkadian...Arkadian...' the Englishman mutters. 'Why, upon my soul, I believe I do!'’
      • ‘And upon my soul, Sir Wilton, how harsh you are upon my sex!’


Old English sāwol, sāw(e)l, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ziel and German Seele.