Word: soliloquy

Pronunciation: sə-LI-lə-kwee

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Here’s another poetry-related word that I appreciate for its dramatic applications. It’s not uncommon for characters in stories to find themselves alone with their thoughts, so it stands to reason that they would express those solitary thoughts aloud now and then. And where there’s theatrical drama, you know there’s a poetic word to define exactly what’s happening in a given scene. In this case, that word is “soliloquy”.

A “soliloquy” is a speech one gives in solitude or regardless of anyone listening. It’s a type of monologue typically spoken by a character in a play. The word comes from the Latin noun soliloquium, which is comprised of two roots: the adjective solus “alone” and the verb loqui “to speak”.

An excellent example of a “soliloquy”, as well as my personal favorite, is Juliet’s balcony speech from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. In Act II, Scene II of the play, there is a brief passage between the moment Romeo arrives in the Capulet orchard and the moment he begins proclaiming his love to her when Juliet confesses her true feelings for him without knowing he’s hiding below and listening. Generally being a kind of speech, I suppose a “soliloquy” can be considered talking to yourself taken to the next level. If you write characters who make a habit of talking to themselves, you’ll no doubt be able to work a “soliloquy” or two into your stories! Have fun!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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