- (drama) The act of a character speaking to themselves so as to reveal their thoughts to the audience.
- At the end of the second act the main villain gave a soliloquy detailing his plans to attack the protagonist.
- 1901, Edmund Selous, Bird Watching, J.M. Dent & Co, London, Chapter XII: Watching Blackbirds, Nightingales, Sand-martins, etc., page 315:
- Yet if I were to say […] that Hamlet's soliloquy had been much over-rated, it would not be said, on this account, that I was unable to appreciate Shakespeare.
- (authorship) A speech or written discourse in this form.
Primarily used of theater, particularly the works of William Shakespeare, as a term of art, particularly for finely-crafted speeches. An archetype is the “To be or not to be” soliloquy in Hamlet. In informal speech or discussions of popular culture, the term monologue is used instead. However, the terms are not precisely synonymous; a monologue is held in the presence and directed towards other characters on the stage, whereas a soliloquy does not acknowledge the presence of any other stage characters if present, and is directed to the audience.
- (speech or written discourse): monologue
- (very rare) To issue a soliloquy.
- soliloquize (much more common)