Definition of soul noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//səʊl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//soʊl//
    Styles of music
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    spirit of person
  1. 1  [countable] the spiritual part of a person, believed to exist after death He believed his immortal soul was in peril. The howling wind sounded like the wailing of lost souls (= the spirits of dead people who are not in heaven). CollocationsReligionBeing religious believe in God/​Christ/​Allah/​free will/​predestination/​heaven and hell/​an afterlife/​reincarnation be/​become a believer/​an atheist/​an agnostic/​a Christian/​Muslim/​Hindu/​Buddhist, etc. convert to/​practise/ (especially US English) practice a religion/​Buddhism/​Catholicism/​Christianity/​Islam/​Judaism, etc. go to church/(North American English) temple (= the synagogue) go to the local church/​mosque/​synagogue/​gurdwara belong to a church/​a religious community join/​enter the church/​a convent/​a monastery/​a religious sect/​the clergy/​the priesthood praise/​worship/​obey/​serve/​glorify GodCelebrations and ritual attend/​hold/​conduct/​lead a service perform a ceremony/​a rite/​a ritual/​a baptism/​the Hajj/​a mitzvah carry out/​perform a sacred/​burial/​funeral/​fertility/​purification rite go on/​make a pilgrimage celebrate Christmas/​Easter/​Eid/​Ramadan/​Hanukkah/​Passover/​Diwali observe/​break the Sabbath/​a fast/​Ramadan deliver/​preach/​hear a sermon lead/​address the congregation say/​recite a prayer/​blessingReligious texts and ideas preach/​proclaim/​spread the word of God/​the Gospel/​the message of Islam study/​follow the dharma/​the teachings of Buddha read/​study/​understand/​interpret scripture/​the Bible/​the Koran/​the gospel/​the Torah be based on/​derive from divine revelation commit/​consider something heresy/​sacrilegeReligious belief and experience seek/​find/​gain enlightenment/​wisdom strengthen/​lose your faith keep/​practise/​practice/​abandon the faith save/​purify/​lose your soul obey/​follow/​keep/​break/​violate a commandment/​Islamic law/​Jewish law be/​accept/​do God’s will receive/​experience divine grace achieve/​attain enlightenment/​salvation/​nirvana undergo a conversion/​rebirth/​reincarnation hear/​answer a prayer commit/​confess/​forgive a sin do/​perform penance
  2. inner character
  3. 2  [countable] a person’s inner character, containing their true thoughts and feelings There was a feeling of restlessness deep in her soul.
  4. spiritual/moral/artistic qualities
  5. 3  [singular] the spiritual and moral qualities of humans in general synonym psyche the dark side of the human soul
  6. 4[uncountable, countable] strong and good human feeling, especially that gives a work of art its quality or enables somebody to recognize and enjoy that quality It was a very polished performance, but it lacked soul.
  7. 5[singular] the soul of something a perfect example of a good quality He is the soul of discretion.
  8. person
  9. 6[countable] (becoming old-fashioned) a person of a particular type She's lost all her money, poor soul. You're a brave soul.
  10. 7[countable] (especially in negative sentences) a person There wasn't a soul in sight (= nobody was in sight). Don't tell a soul (= do not tell anyone). (literary) a village of 300 souls (= with 300 people living there)
  11. music
  12. 8 (also soul music) [uncountable] a type of music that expresses strong emotions, made popular by African American musicians a soul singer Culture Soul music developed out of gospel music and rhythm and blues in the 1950s and 1960s. The most famous form of soul music was Motown. Well-known soul singers include James Brown, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder. See related entries: Styles of music
  13. Word OriginOld English sāwol, sāw(e)l, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ziel and German Seele.Extra examples By midnight, there wasn’t a soul in sight. Deep in her soul she knew she had to return to her country. God rest his soul. He bared his soul to her. He gave himself heart and soul to the cause. He let out an anguished cry from the depths of his soul. I don’t know a single soul in this town. I searched my soul for any malice that could have provoked his words, but found none. I will not tell a soul about this. In the process of being made into a film, the story seemed to have lost its soul. Laughter is good for the soul. May God have mercy on my soul. Missionaries saw it as their task to save souls. She gave herself to him body and soul. She sang the song with passion and soul. She was a part of his soul. The dog was howling like a soul in torment. The messenger god, Hermes, leads dead souls into the underworld. The plea touched him to his very soul. There was no other living soul to be seen. They recognized each other as kindred souls. a battle for the soul of the country a kind old soul an argument for the immortality of the soul poor little soul to sell your soul to the Devil A few brave souls queued all night to get tickets for centre court. His poetry deals with the dark side of the human soul. I won’t tell a soul. It means bad news for some poor soul. She’s completely exhausted, poor soul! The howling wind sounded like the wailing of lost souls. There was not a soul about/​in sight/​to be seen. You mustn’t tell a living soul what I just told you.Idioms
    bare your soul (to somebody)
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    to tell somebody your deepest and most private feelings
    with all your energy She committed herself body and soul to fighting for the cause.
    God rest his/her soul, God rest him/her
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    (old-fashioned, informal) used to show respect when you are talking about somebody who is dead
    (humorous) good for you, even if it seems unpleasant ‘Want a ride?’ ‘No thanks. Walking is good for the soul.’ with a lot of energy and enthusiasm They threw themselves heart and soul into the project.
    keep body and soul together
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    to stay alive with just enough of the food, clothing, etc. that you need synonym survive They barely have enough money to keep body and soul together.
    the life and soul of the party, etc.
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    (British English) the most amusing and interesting person at a party, etc.
    sell your soul (to the devil)
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    to do anything, even something bad or dishonest, in return for money, success or power
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: soul