from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The animating and vital principle in humans, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion and often conceived as an immaterial entity.
  • n. The spiritual nature of humans, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state.
  • n. The disembodied spirit of a dead human.
  • n. A human: "the homes of some nine hundred souls” ( Garrison Keillor).
  • n. The central or integral part; the vital core: "It saddens me that this network ... may lose its soul, which is after all the quest for news” ( Marvin Kalb).
  • n. A person considered as the perfect embodiment of an intangible quality; a personification: I am the very soul of discretion.
  • n. A person's emotional or moral nature: "An actor is ... often a soul which wishes to reveal itself to the world but dare not” ( Alec Guinness).
  • n. A sense of ethnic pride among Black people and especially African Americans, expressed in areas such as language, social customs, religion, and music.
  • n. A strong, deeply felt emotion conveyed by a speaker, a performer, or an artist.
  • n. Soul music.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The spirit or essence of a person usually thought to consist of one's thoughts and personality. Often believed to live on after the person's death.
  • n. The spirit or essence of anything.
  • n. Life, energy, vigor.
  • n. Soul music.
  • n. A person, especially as one among many.
  • n. An individual life.
  • v. To endue with a soul; to furnish with a soul or mind.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sole.
  • adj. By or for African-Americans, or characteristic of their culture.
  • n. The spiritual, rational, and immortal part in man; that part of man which enables him to think, and which renders him a subject of moral government; -- sometimes, in distinction from the higher nature, or spirit, of man, the so-called animal soul, that is, the seat of life, the sensitive affections and phantasy, exclusive of the voluntary and rational powers; -- sometimes, in distinction from the mind, the moral and emotional part of man's nature, the seat of feeling, in distinction from intellect; -- sometimes, the intellect only; the understanding; the seat of knowledge, as distinguished from feeling. In a more general sense, “an animating, separable, surviving entity, the vehicle of individual personal existence.”
  • n. The seat of real life or vitality; the source of action; the animating or essential part.
  • n. The leader; the inspirer; the moving spirit; the heart.
  • n. Energy; courage; spirit; fervor; affection, or any other noble manifestation of the heart or moral nature; inherent power or goodness.
  • n. A human being; a person; -- a familiar appellation, usually with a qualifying epithet.
  • n. A pure or disembodied spirit.
  • n. A perceived shared community and awareness among African-Americans.
  • n. Soul music.
  • intransitive v. To afford suitable sustenance.
  • transitive v. To indue with a soul; to furnish with a soul or mind.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To endue with a soul.
  • To afford suitable sustenance; satisfy with food; satiate.
  • n. A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks, and wills.
  • n. The moral and emotional part of man's nature; the seat of the sentiments or feelings: in distinction from intellect.
  • n. The animating or essential part; the essence: as, the soul of a song; the source of action; the chief part; hence, the inspirer or leader of any action or movement: as, the soul of an enterprise; an able commander is the soul of an army.
  • n. Fervor; fire; grandeur of mind, or other noble manifestation of the heart or moral nature.
  • n. A spiritual being; a disembodied spirit; a shade.
  • n. A human being; a person.
  • n. Synonyms and
  • n. Intellect, Spirit, etc. See mind.
  • n. Ardor, force.
  • n. Anything eaten with bread; a relish, as butter, cheese, milk, or preserves; that which satisfies.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. deep feeling or emotion
  • n. a secular form of gospel that was a major Black musical genre in the 1960s and 1970s
  • n. the human embodiment of something
  • n. a human being
  • n. the immaterial part of a person; the actuating cause of an individual life


Middle English, from Old English sāwol.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English sāwol ("soul, life, spirit, being"), from Proto-Germanic *saiwalō (“soul”). Cognate with North Frisian siel, sial ("soul"), Dutch ziel ("soul"), German Seele ("soul") (the Scandinavian forms are borrowings from the Old English). (Wiktionary)


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