OED + Wikipedia

From Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition
soul, n.
 (səʊl)Forms: α. 1 sawol, -al, 1-2 sawul, 1, 4 sawel (1 sauwel, 4 saw-, sauwil), 1, 4-6 sawl (5-6 sawll, 9 dial. sawl, seawl, zawl, etc.), 2-6 sawle; 1, 4 sauel (4 -il), 3-7 (9 dial.) saule (3 sæule, 4 zaule, 5 savle); 1, 4-5, 6-9 Sc. and north. saul, 5-7 Sc. and north. saull; 5 sal, saal, 5-6 sale, 5-6 (9 dial.) sall (6 salle). β. 2-7 sowle, 5 sowel, 5-6 sowylle, 6 sowll, 8 Ir. showl, 9 dial. sowl; 3-7 soule (6 zoule, soulle), 5- soul (8 dial. saoul); 5 sool (6 sooll), 5-6 solle, 6-8 (9 dial.) sole, 7 sol.[Common Teut.: OE. sáwol, sáwel, sáwl, etc., = Goth. saiwala; the forms in the other languages show various degrees of contraction, as OHG. sêula, sêla (MHG. sêle, G. seele), OS. sêola (siola; MLG. sêle, LG. seele, seel), OLFrank. sêla, sîla (MDu. siel-e, ziel-e, Du. ziel), OFris. sêle (siele; WFris. siel, NFris. seel, sial, etc.); ON. sála, sál (Icel. sál, Norw. dial. saal), MSw. sial, siäl, siel (Sw. sjȧl, Da. sjæl), whence Finn. sielu, Lapp. siello, etc. The ultimate etymology is uncertain.    For examples of the older genitive form without -s, see 18.]
soul, n.
soul, n.
 1. The principle of life in man or animals; animate existence. Obs. (freq. in OE. in Scriptural passages).
Beowulf 2820 “Him of hreðre ᵹewat sawol secean soðfæstra dom.”
c825: Vesp. Psalter lxxvii. 50 “[He ne] spearede from deaðe sawlum heara.”
c1000: Ags. Ps. (Thorpe) xxxii. 16 “Forþam þæt he ᵹefriðie heora sawla fram deaðe, and hi fede on hungres tide.”
1382: Wyclif Jonah i. 14 “Lord, we bisechen, that we perishe not in the soule of this man.”
a1450: tr. De Imitatione i. xviii. 20 “For þei hated her soules, þat is to say, her bodely lyues, þat þei miȝt kepe hem in to lif euerlasting.”
1535: Coverdale Judg. xii. 3 “Whan I sawe yt there was no helper, I put my soule in my honde, and wente agaynst the children of Ammon.”
1611: Bible Gen. xxxv. 18 “As her soule was in departing, (for she died).”
[1651: Hobbes Leviath. iii. xxxviii. 241 “Soule and Life in the Scripture, do usually signifie the same thing.”]
1697: Dryden Virg. Georg. iii. 744 “The thriven Calves..render their sweet Souls before the plenteous Rack.”
soul, n.
 2. a. The principle of thought and action in man, commonly regarded as an entity distinct from the body; the spiritual part of man in contrast to the purely physical. Also occas., the corresponding or analogous principle in animals. Freq. in connexion with, or in contrast to, body.    Sometimes personified, as in the common mediæval dialogues between the soul and the body.
α c888: K. Ælfred Boeth. xxxiv. 6 “To þære saule & to þæm lichoman, belimpað ealle þas þæs monnes good ᵹe gastlicu ᵹe lichomlicu.”
971: Blickl. Hom. 21 “Eal swa hwæt swa se ᵹesenelica lichama deþ oþþe wyrceþ, eal þæt deþ seo unᵹesynelice sawl þurh þone lichoman.”
c1000: Ælfric Hom. I. 16 “Se man is ece on anum dæle, þæt is on ðære sawle.”
c1200: Ormin 11498 “Swa þatt te manness bodiȝ beo Buhsumm forþ wiþþ þe sawle.”
a1300: Cursor M. 21757 (Edin.), “Þe Sawil it hauis of strenþis þrin.”
1340: Ayenb. 105 “Þri þinges þet byeþ ine þe zaule, beþenchinge, onderstondynge, and wyl.”
a1400-50: Alexander 4429 “All þe sauour of ȝoure sauls is sattild in ȝour mouthis.”
1483: Cath. Angl. 319 “A Savle, anima.”
1599: A. Hume Hymns i. 21 “My sensis, and my saull I saw, Debait a deadly strife.”
1737: Gentl. Mag. VII. 50 “The coward lurks in Jockey's saul.”    β
c1175: in Fragm. Ælfric's Gloss., etc. (1838) 6 “Ȝet sæiþ þeo sowle soriliche to þen licame [etc.].”
12..: Moral Ode 394 “To þere blisse us bringe god..þenne he vre soule vn-bint of licames bende.”
c1386: Chaucer Prol. 656 “But if [= unless] a mannes soule were in his purs.”
1422: tr. Secreta Secret., Priv. Priv. 218 “Here is i-prowid that the Sowle sueth the condycionys of the bodyes.”
c1440: Jacob's Well 258 “As þi soule is lyif of þi body, so is god lyif of þi soule.”
a1547: Surrey Eccl. iii. Poems (1810) 355 “Who can tell yf that the sowle of man ascende, Or with the body of it dye?”
1596: Shakes. Merch. V. iv. i. 132 “To hold opinion..That soules of Animals infuse themselues Into the trunkes of men.”
1621: Hakewill David's Vow 120 “It is..vanity, to thinke that all passions either may be or should be utterly rooted out of the soule.”
1681: J. Flavel Meth. Grace v. 111 “If there be spiritual sense in your souls, there is spiritual life in them.”
1716-8: Lady M. W. Montagu Lett. I. xxxix. 159 “Our vulgar notion that they do not own women to have any souls, is a mistake.”
1774: Goldsm. Nat. Hist. (1776) II. 207 “It must be dreadful,..since it is sufficient to separate the soul from the body.”
1841: Dickens Barn. Rudge iii, “The absence of the soul is far more terrible in a living man than in a dead one.”
1868: Helps Realmah ix. (1876) 247, “I mean that there should be a double soul, taking the word `soul' to include all powers, both of thought and feeling.”
1897: M. Kingsley W. Africa 441, “I know many people have doubts as to the existence of souls in small boys of this class.”    fig.
1829: Carlyle Misc. (1857) II. 106 “Thus is the Body-politic, more than ever worshipped and tendered; but the Soul-politic less than ever.”
soul, n.
 3. a. The seat of the emotions, feelings, or sentiments; the emotional part of man's nature.    For the phr. heart and soul, see heart n. 52.
c825: Vesp. Psalter vi. 4 “Ᵹedroefed sindun all ban min, & sawl min ᵹedroefed is swiðe.”
c950: Lindisf. Gosp. Matt. xxvi. 38 “Unrot is sauel min..oð deaðe.”
13..: E.E. Allit. P. C. 325 “When þacces of anguych was hid in my sawle.”
c1400: Destr. Troy 10768 “Hit wold haue persit with pyte any pure sawle..hor torfer to se.”
c1420: in 26 Pol. Poems 108 “My soul of my self anoyed isse.”
1553: N. Grimalde Cicero's Offices (1600) Aiij, “Of the soule, or life endued with sences, pleasures is the ende that it would enioy.”
1599: Shakes. Much Ado ii. iii. 60 “Now is his soule rauisht, is it not strange that sheepes guts should hale soules out of mens bodies?”
1667: Milton P.L. ii. 556 “For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense.”
1697: Dryden Virg. Past. viii. 113 “Such let the Soul of cruel Daphnis be; Hard to the rest of Women; soft to me.”
1794: Mrs. Radcliffe Myst. Udolpho xlviii, “Valancourt seemed to be annihilated, and her soul sickened at the blank that remained.”
1805: Scott Last Minstr. vi. i, “Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said [etc.].”
1857: Maurice Epist. St. John ii. 24 “We say sometimes of a speech which strikes us as very sincere and very powerful, `The speaker threw his whole soul into it'.”
1874: M. Creighton Hist. Ess. i. (1902) 2 “Shakespeare..became in soul one with the mighty prince as with the lowly peasant.”
soul, n.
 b. Without article.
c1000: Ælfric Hom. I. 276 “Fixas and fuᵹelas he ᵹesceop on flæsce butan sawle.”
13..: E.E Allit. P. B. 290 “Al schal doun & be ded & dryuen out of erþe, Þat euer I sette saule inne.”
c1374: Chaucer Troylus ii. 1734, “I coniure..On his half, which that sowle us alle sende.”
c1430: Hymns Virgin (1867) 102 “In soule oonli þou wente to helle.”
1535: Coverdale Wisd. xiv. 29 “Idols (which haue nether sole ner vnderstondinge).”
1692: Bentley Boyle Lect. i. 13 “That all their Thoughts, and the whole of what they call Soul, are only various Action and Repercussion of small particles of Matter.”
1727-46: Thomson Summer 774 “There on the breezy summit..let me draw Ethereal soul.”
1813: Byron Giaour 93 “So coldly sweet, so deadly fair, We start, for soul is wanting there.”
1884: Browning Ferishtah, Eagle 47 “God is soul, souls I and thou.”
soul, n.
 c. Coupled with body or life. (Without article.)
c888: K. Ælfred Boeth. xxxiv 9 “Ic wat þæt hit bið sawl & lichoma.”
a1175: Cott. Hom. 221 “He warð þa man ȝesceapen on sawle and on lichame.”
c1200: Ormin 2544 “To wurrþenn filledd..I bodiȝ & i sawle Off Godess Gastess hallȝhe mahht.”
a1300: Cursor M. 23903 (Edin.), “Lif and sawel I yeld hir til.”
c1340: Hampole Pr. Consc. 129 “How wake man es in saul and body.”
c1450: Holland Howlat 739 “Bot all committis to the, Saull and lyf, ladye!”
1526: Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 25 “Whan man offreth hymselfe hole to almyghty god, bothe soule & body.”
1567: Gude & Godlie B. (S.T.S.) 10 “Baith Saule and body to defend.”
1753: J. Collier Art Torment. ii. ii. (1811) 127 “By never letting him see you swallow half enough to keep body and soul together.”
1831: Scott Cast. Dang. ix, “I can hardly get so much for mine as will hold soul and body together.”    Comb.
1817: Coleridge Biog. Lit. (Bohn) viii. 64 “To fall back into the common rank of soul-and-bodyists.”
soul, n.
 Also in Naut. phr. soul and body lashing (see quot. 1962).
1903: C. Protheroe Life in Mercantile Marine 150 “The best method of arranging his oil-skins to keep the water out,..known as a `soul and body lashing'.”
1936: B. Adams Ships & Women iv. 87 “All wore rope yarns tightly tied about wrists and ankles... We call those rope yarns `soul and body lashings'.”
1962: A. G. Course Dict. Naut. Terms 182 “Soul and body lashings, rope yarns tied round the waist and sleeves of oilskin jackets, and round the bottom of oilskin trousers, to prevent the water, from seas crashing on board, getting under the oilskins. They also prevented the wind from ballooning up inside the oilskins.”
soul, n.
 d. soul and conscience: in Sc. Law, the formula by which medical testimony in writing is authenticated; also attrib. (see quot. 1976).
1892: A. M. Anderson Criminal Law of Scotland v. xiii. 252 “Medical reports are made on soul and conscience, read at the trial, and sworn to as true.”
1925: W. J. Lewis Manual of Law of Evidence in Scotland iii. ii. 84 “Medical certificates on soul and conscience, apparently holograph, appear, in non-contentious matters, to be generally accepted without further evidence.”
1976: L. Kennedy Presumption of Innocence iii. 147 “There was a soul and conscience certificate in relation to Mrs Carmichael; this meant that a doctor had sworn on his soul and conscience that she was unfit to attend the court.”
soul, n.
 b. ellipt. for soul music (b), see sense 26 below.
1961: [see funk n. 2 2].
1968: P. Oliver Screening Blues ii. 46 “The distinction between gospel music and the most recent development of blues and rock 'n roll—soul—is one of content rather than style.”
1975: New Yorker 28 Apr. 6/3 “She's lately been branching out from a strict regimen of blues and folk songs..to include some rock, soul, and Nashville-inspired ditties.”
1979: Radio Times 19 July 60/1 “The word `soul' probably originated with Ray Charles... Soul is the music of experience... It's one person's heart speaking to another person's.”
soul, n.
 b. Intellectual or spiritual power; high development of the mental faculties. Also in somewhat weakened use, deep feeling, sensitivity.
1604: Shakes. Oth. i. i. 54 “These Fellowes haue some soule.”
1702: Pope Wife of Bath 299 “The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole, Can never be a mouse of any soul.”
1748: Richardson Clarissa VI. 169, “I never saw so much soul in a lady's eyes, as in hers.”
1823: Byron Juan xiv. lxxi. 150 “But there was something wanting on the whole—I don't know what, and therefore cannot tell—Which pretty women—the sweet souls!—call Soul.”
1828: Lytton Pelham xvi, “The women love soul, Monsieur—something intellectual and spiritual always attracts them.”
1853: My Novel III. ix. iii. 22 “Oh, no! no picture of miserable, vicious, Parisian life. This is beautiful; there is soul here.”
1873: M. Arnold Lit. & Dogma (1876) 49 “What man of soul..but would prefer to say [etc.].”
1888: Pater Appreciations, Style (1889) 22 “As a quality of style,..soul is a fact.”
1904: F. H. Jackson Mural Painting 21 “Benozzo Gozzoli..filled his long life with the production of the most charming wall-paintings, which, if he had had what is often called `soul', would have placed him very near the summit of the Palace of Art.”
soul, n.
 4. a. The emotional or spiritual quality of Black American life and culture, manifested esp. in music (see quot. 1973).
1946: Ebony Sept. 34/2 “He uses a bewildering, unorthodox technique and his playing is full of what jazzmen refer to as `soul'.”
1954: Grove's Dict. Mus. (ed. 5) IV. 600/2 “Louis Armstrong declared that `Anything played with beat and soul is jazz.'”
1964: Amer. Folk Music Occasional i. 17 “It's just really rough what the colored entertainers have to go through sometimes... That's why the colored people sing the blues; that's why they sing with soul.”
1973: S. Henderson Understanding New Black Poetry 74 “In the late 1950's the word `Soul' surfaced in the musical community and quickly spread to the wider Black Community, where it came to mean not only a special kind of popular music..but also..`racial spirit' and `racial flavor'... The word is losing some of its popularity now.”
soul, n.
 (a) Characteristic of or pertaining to Black people or culture;
soul, n.
 c. attrib. passing into adj.
soul, n.
 (b) of or pertaining to soul music (sense (b)).
1962: John o' London's 1 Feb. 113/3 “Feldman is not really a soul-merchant.”
1968: N.Y. Times 17 June 46 “Sonny Charles, the organist, took over, singing with a soul appeal that caught up even this predominantly white audience.”
1969: C. Himes Blind Man with Pistol xxi. 231 “The big white man thought they were talking about him in a secret language known only to soul people.”
1971: B. Malamud Tenants 63, “I swear to myself I will be the best writer, the best Soul Writer.”
Ibid. 121 “From across the street..Bill spied him and whooped, `Lesser, man, for Christ's sake, cross on over here. I got some soul people with me.'”
1972: Sat. Rev. (U.S.) 27 May. 18/1 “You'll be surprised how many soul folk speak Dutch and work and play in surprising Amsterdam.”
1975: D. Pitts Target Manhattan (1976) xxvi. 105 “They had..listened to a group of black soul singers.”
1976: Drum (E. Afr. ed.) June 10/2 “Soul language is a language of protest, a language of self-assertion, a language that rejects the white man's values.”
1981: Westindian World 28 Aug. 5/6 “The Crusaders are among the finest exponents of the art of making a good listenable soul record.”
soul, n.
 5. In various phrases (see quots.); also to have no soul: to be lacking in sensibility or right feeling; to have a soul above (something): to be superior to or have higher aspirations than (something); to make one's soul: see make v. 1 47.
a. c1400: Beryn 2682 “A douȝter, þat he lovid right as his owne saal.”
1600: Shakes. A.Y.L. i. ii. 247 “My Father lou'd Sir Roland as his soule.”    b.
1535: Stewart Cron. Scot. II. 109 “[They] Skantlie durst say thair saull wes thair awin.”
c1712: W. King Old Cheese 8 Wks. 1776 III. 144 “Slouch could hardly call his Soul his own.”
1768-74: Tucker Lt. Nat. (1834) II. 124 “He dares not say his soul is his own.”
1889: Corbett Monk xi. 155 “From that moment he could not call his soul his own.”    c.
1594: Nashe Unfort. Trav. Wks. (Grosart) V. 168 “They basted him with a mixture of Aqua fortis [etc.],..which smarted to the very soule of him.”
1602: Shakes. Ham. iii. ii. 10 “O it offends mee to the Soule, to see [etc.].”
1604: Oth. i. iii. 196, “I am glad at soule, I haue no other Child.”
1663: Dryden Rival Ladies iv. iii, “She's an infamous, lewd prostitute: I loathe her at my soul.”    d.
1599: Shakes. Hen. V, iii. vi. 8 “A man that I loue and honour with my soule and my heart.”
1687: MiÉge Gt. Fr. Dict. ii. s.v., “With all my Soul, de toute mon Ame.”
a1700: Evelyn Diary 6 Feb. 1685, “I cannot..but deplore his losse, which..I do with all my soul.”
1736: Gentl. Mag. VI. 459/1 “Here 'tis with all my Soul.”
1828: Lytton Pelham II. xxi, “`I pledge you, with all my soul,' said I, filling my glass to the brim.”    e.
1588: Shakes. Tit. A. v. iii. 190, “I do repent it from my very Soule.”
1613: Hen. VIII, ii. iv. 81, “I..from my Soule Refuse you for my Iudge.”
a1700: Evelyn Diary 18 Aug. 1688, “I wish from my soul..her husband..was as worthy of her.”
1768: Sterne Sent. Journ., Temptation, “I could not from my soul but fasten the buckle in return.”    f.
1704: Swift T. Tub ii. 64 “That Fellow, cries one, has no Soul; where is his Shoulder-knot?”
1850: `L. Limner' Christmas Comes 9 “He seeks refuge in his organ, much to the annoyance of a little tailor in the attic who has no soul in him.”
1919: G. B. Shaw Inca of Perusalem in Heartbreak House 209 “You have no soul for fine art.”    g.
1795: G. Colman New Hay at Old Market 10 “My father was an eminent Button-maker..but I had a soul above buttons... I panted for a liberal profession.”
1834: Marryat Peter Simple I. i. 2 “My father, who was a clergyman..had..a `soul above buttons'.”
1889: E. Dowson Let. 27 Oct. (1967) 112, “I have still a soul above tractlets.”
1899: G. B. Burgin Bread of Tears i. iii. 51 “Miss Mercy Tressock evidently wrote a very bad hand, and she hadn't a soul above blots: they were dotted copiously about on every page.”
1909: `O. Henry' Rus in Urbe in Hampton's Mag. Aug. 160/1 “She had a soul above ducks—above nightingales.”
soul, n.
 7. fig. Applied to persons:
soul, n.
 b. Hence three souls, in allusion to the above as combined in human beings.
1601: B. Jonson Poetaster v. iii. 160 “What? will I turne sharke, vpon my friends?.. I scorne it with my three soules.”
1601: Shakes. Twel. N. ii. iii. 61 “Shall wee rowze the night-Owle in a Catch, that will drawe three soules out of one Weauer?”
[c1645: Howell Lett. I. iii. 30 “The Embryo is animated with three Souls;..and these three in Man are like Trigonus in Tetragono.”]
soul, n.
 6. Metaph.
soul, n.
 a. The vital, sensitive, or rational principle in plants, animals, or human beings. Freq. with distinguishing adjs., as vegetative, sensible or sensitive, rational or reasonable. (Cf. these words.)
(a) 1398: Trevisa Barth. De P.R. iii. vii. (1495) 53 “In dyuers bodyes ben thre manere soules: vegetabilis, that yeuyth lyfe and noo felinge, as in plantes and rootes; Sensibilis, that yeuyth lyfe and felynge and not reason in vnskylfull beestes; Racionalis, that yeuyth lyf, felyng and reeson in men.”
c1400: tr. Secreta Secret., Gov. Lordsh. 91 “Þe kendly sowel [of things vegetable] gedyrs to-gedyr all þes propertes.”
1587: Golding De Mornay i. 11 “Thou beleeuest that the Plants haue a kinde of Soule, that is to say, a certeine inward power or vertue which maketh them to shoote foorth in their season.”
1634: Sir T. Herbert Trav. 209 “A soft pith, in which consists the soule and vegetatiue vertue of that tree.”
1707: Curios. in Husb. from whence proceed the Operations of each Plant.”
1725: Watts Logic i. vi. 3 “Our elder Philosophers have generally made use of the Word Soul to signify that Principle whereby a Plant grows, and they called it the vegetative Soul.”    (b)
1398: [see prec.].
a1400-: [see sensitive a. 1].
1587: Golding De Mornay i. 11 “Thou beleeuest that..the Beastes also haue one other kinde of Soule, which maketh them to mooue.”
1620: T. Granger Div. Logike 43 “The Brutall soule or spirit is not a power or facultie of the reasonable soule.”
a1676: Hale Prim. Orig. Man. (1677) 33 “The sensible Soul of a vast Whale exerciseth its regiment to every part of that huge structure with the same efficacy and facility as the Soul of a Fly or a Mite doth.”
1725: Watts Logic i. vi. 3 “The Principle of the animal Motion of a Brute has been likewise call'd a Soul, and we have been taught to name it the sensitive Soul.”
1775: Harris Philos. Arrangem. Wks. (1841) 373 “The soul perceives those goods which it is conscious that the animal wants.”
1875: Boultbee Theol. Ch. Eng. 36 “The animal soul was present; for he ate before the disciples.”
1880: Ld. Reay Social Democ. Germany 8 “The soul with which it [sc. a plastidule] is endowed, is called protoplastic soul.”    (c)
a1325: Prose Psalter 195 “As resonable soule & flesshe is o man.”
1390-: [see reasonable a. 1b].
1398: [see (a)].
1587: Golding De Mornay xv. 238 “Auerrhoes, and..Alexander of Aphrodise,..vpholde that there is but one vniuersall reasonable Soule or minde, which worketh all our discourses in vs.”
1597: Morley Introd. Musicke Ded., “Our maisters,..by whose directions the faculties of the reasonable soule be stirred vp to enter into contemplation.”
1610: Healey St. Aug. Citie of God v. xi. (1620) 202 “Hee that gaue the vnreasonable soule sense, memorie, and appetite; the reasonable besides these, phantasie, vnderstanding and will.”
1615: [see rational a. 1].
1725: Watts Logic i. vi. 3 “They distinguish this by the honourable Title of the rational Soul.”
1875: Boultbee Theol. Ch. Eng. 36 “The rational soul was there; he reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.”
soul, n.
 d. The essential part or quality of some material thing.
1658: tr. Porta's Nat. Magic vii. ii. 192 “A Loadstone wrapt up in burning coles..lost its quality of its soul that was gone, namely, its attractive vertue.”
1662: J. Davies tr. Mandelslo's Trav. 32 “This excellent scent..may be called the soul of all Perfume.”
1704: Pope Windsor For. 244 “He..With chymic art exalts the min'ral pow'rs, And draws the aromatic souls of flow'rs.”
1821: Scott Kenilw. i, “Your Spaniard is too wise a man to send you the very soul of the grape.”
1855: Tennyson Maud i. xxii. vi, “The soul of the rose went into my blood.”
1890: W. J. Gordon Foundry 71 “But `the soul of a ship is her engines'.”
soul, n.
 c. the soul of the world [after L. anima mundi, Gr. ψυχὴ τοῦ κόσμου], the animating principle of the world, according to early philosophers.
c1600: Shakes. Sonn. cvii, “The prophetick soule Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come.”
1678: Cudworth Intell. Syst. i. iv. 215 “In like manner he resolved that the Soul of the World..was not made by God out of Nothing neither.”
1785: Reid Intell. Powers i. i. 23 “A tract of Timæus the Locrian..concerning the soul of the world, in which we find the substance of Plato's doctrine concerning ideas.”
soul, n.
 a. As a term of endearment or adoration.
1581: G. Pettie tr. Guazzo's Civ. Conv. i. (1586) 33b, “Politike louers, who..tearme her..sometime the heart of their life, sometime their soule.”
1590: Shakes. Mids. N. iii. ii. 246 “My loue, my life, my soule, faire Helena.”
1611: Cymb. v. v. 263 “Hang there like fruite, my soule, Till the Tree dye.”
1654: Gayton Pleas. Notes iii. xiii. 165 “O persevere (soule of my soule) And act according to thy word.”
1832: Tennyson Œnone 69 “My own Œnone,..my own soul, Behold this fruit.”
1864: Browning Dram. Pers., Prospice, “O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again.”
soul, n.
 b. The personification of some quality.
1605: 1st Pt. Jeronimo iii. ii. 40 “Prince Balthezer,..The very soule of true nobility.”
1607: Shakes. Timon i. ii. 215 “O he's the very soule of Bounty.”
1766: Goldsm. Vic. W. xxxi, “My brother indeed was the soul of honour.”
a1902: S. Butler Way of All Flesh (1903) xiii. 56 “He had stuck to his post... He had said to himself: `I..am the very soul of honour.'”
1976: R. Lehmann Sea-Grape Tree 30 “He's the soul of courtesy but he can be a wee bit difficult.”
soul, n.
 c. The inspirer or leader of some business, cause, movement, etc.; the chief agent, prime mover, or leading spirit.
1662: J. Davies tr. Olearius' Voy. Amb. 366 “The Chancellor, who was the President of the King's Council, the Soul of Affairs.”
1688: Holme Armoury iii. 113/2 “The Master Printer..is the Soul of Printing.”
1724: De Foe Mem. Cavalier (1840) 122 “The soul of the war was dead.”
1769: Robertson Chas. V, ix. III. 131 “Francis.., whom he considered as the soul and mover of any confederacy.”
1808: Scott Marm. vi. xxxviii, “Unnam'd by Hollinshed or Hall, He was the living soul of all.”
1855: Macaulay Hist. Eng. xi. III. 15 “He was the author and the soul of the European coalition.”
1882: W. Ballantine Exper. xvii. 171 “As long as he remained..he was the soul of the table.”
soul, n.
 8. fig. Of things:
soul, n.
 a. The essential, fundamental, or animating part, element, or feature of something. Also rarely without article.
(a) 1596: Shakes. 1 Hen. IV, iv. i. 50 “Therein should we reade The very Bottome, and the Soule of Hope.”
1602: Ham. ii. ii. 90 “Breuitie is the Soule of Wit.”
1632: Milton L'Allegro 144 “The hidden soul of harmony.”
c1670: Hobbes Dial. Com. Laws (1681) 2 “Reason is the Soul of the Law.”
1712: Addison Spect. No. 409 10, “I could wish there were Authors..who..would enter into the very Spirit and Soul of fine Writing.”
1775: Schuyler in Sparks Corr. Amer. Rev. (1853) I. 14 “That proper spirit of discipline and subordination, which is the very soul of an army.”
1807: J. Barlow Columb. iii. 564 “Thro' the ranks he breathes the soul of war.”
1818: Hazlitt Eng. Poets ii. (1870) 38 “Nature is the soul of art.”
1892: Westcott Gospel of Life 100 “The religious history of the world is the very soul of history.”    (b)
1610: Fletcher Faithf. Sheph. iv. iv, “I have been woo'd by many with no less Soul of affection.”
1634: Ford Perk. Warbeck iii. i, “Money gives soule to action.”
soul, n.
 b. An element, principle, or trace of something.
1599: Shakes. Hen. V, iv. i. 4 “There is some soule of goodnesse in things euill.”
1862: Spencer First Princ. i. i. 1 (1875) 3 “[There is] a soul of truth in things erroneous.”
soul, n.
 10. a. The spiritual part of man regarded as surviving after death and as susceptible of happiness or misery in a future state.
c825: Charter in Sweet O.E. Texts 444 “Ðæt mon ᵹedele to aelmessan aet ðere tide fore mine sawle & Osuulfes.”
863: Ibid. 440 “Ic.. iow fer godes lufe bidde þet ᵹe hit minre sawle nyt ᵹedeo.”
a1067: in Kemble Cod. Diplom. IV. 206 “Ich hit..Gode ᵹeuðe mine saule to helpene.”
a1122: O.E. Chron. (Laud MS.) an. 675, “Ic wile on min dæi hit æcon for here sawle & for minre sawle.”
a1250: Owl & Night. 1092 “Ihesus his soule do mercy.”
1297: R. Glouc. (Rolls) 7591 “An abbeye he let rere..uor hor soulen þat þere aslawe were.”
a1352: Minot Poems (ed. Hall) v. 88 “God assoyle þaire sawls; sais all, Amen.”
1375: Barbour Bruce xx. 346 “To pass..On goddis fais, that his travale Micht eftir till his saull avale.”
1418: E.E. Wills (1882) 33 “Masses to be songe for my saule & for the saules aforsaide.”
1488: Acc. Ld. High Treas. Scot. I. 90 “To pay..a prest to sing for the Qwenis sawle.”
1536: Wriothesley Chron. (Camden) I. 42 “Beseechinge him to have mercye on my sowle.”
1606: Dekker Newes fr. Hell Wks. (Grosart) II. 142 “The soule sees deathes Barge tarrying for her, she begins to be sorrie for her ante-acted euils.”
soul, n.
 II. 9. The spiritual part of man considered in its moral aspect or in relation to God and His precepts.    Freq. with implicit reference to the fate of the soul after death, and so partly belonging to sense 10. cure of souls, see cure n. 1 4.
α c825: Vesp. Psalter xviii. 8 “Æew dryhtnes [is] untelwirðe, ᵹecerrende sawle.”
c830: in Sweet O.E. Texts 446 “Suilc man sue hit aweᵹe, ðonne se hit on his sawale.”
c1175: Lamb. Hom. 71 “Þet lif and saule beon iborȝen.”
c1200: Ormin 2921 “Swa þatt itt Drihhtin cweme be, & halsumm till hiss sawle.”
c1230: Hali Meid. 15 “Ne harmeð hit te nawiht, ne suleð þi sawle.”
a1300: Cursor M. 1568 “Al þair luf þai gaue to lust, þai did þair sauls all to rust.”
1393: Langl. P. Pl. C. vi. 199 “Secheþ seint treuthe in sauacion of ȝoure saules.”
1456: Sir G. Haye Law Arms (S.T.S.) 16 “The wrang errouris, the quhilkis tynis mony a saule.”
c1485: Digby Myst. (1882) iv. 296 “Thou knew ther were no remedy to redeym syn, But a bath of þi blude to bath mans saule in.”
a1509: Hen. VII in Ellis Orig. Lett. Ser. i. I. 44 “In all other thyngs that I may knowe should be to youre honour & plesure & weale of youre salle.”
c1560: A. Scott Poems xxxvi. 9 “Wesche me, and mak my sawle serene Frome all iniquite.”
c1615: Sir W. Mure Misc. Poems xii. 4 “Awalk, my sillie saul, in sin quhich too securely lyes.”
1786: Burns Twa Dogs 148 “Thrang a parliamentin, For Britain's guid his saul indentin.”    β
c1220: Bestiary 118 “Leren he sal his nede;..and..tilen him so ðe sowles fode.”
c1250: Gen. & Ex. 4156 “Bi-seke we nu godes miȝt, ðat he make ure sowles briȝt.”
c1300: Havelok 1422 “But Grim was wis,..Wolde he nouth his soule shende.”
1390: Gower Conf. I. 19 “Thei prechen ous in audience That noman schal his soule empeire.”
1450-80: tr. Secreta Secret. 9 “Vndirstondyng is cheef of the governaunce of man and helthe of thi sowle.”
1473-5: in Cal. Proc. Chanc. Q. Eliz. II. (1830) Pref. 59 “That he stode in grete perell of his sowle lyke to be dampned.”
1508: Fisher 7 Penit. Ps. Wks. (1876) I. 7 “Makynge this holy psalme wherby he..was restored to his soules helth.”
1582: Card. Allen Martyrdom Campion (1908) 35 “His going..was only for his soule's health, to learn to save his soule.”
1603: Shakes. Meas. for M. ii. iv. 65 “Ile take it as a perill to my soule, It is no sinne at all.”
1665: Pepys Diary 26 July, “I begin to think of setting things in order, which I pray God enable me to put both as to soul and body.”
1758: S. Hayward Serm. Introd. p. xv, “Success..crowning our imperfect labours in the conversion of souls.”
1760-79: [see sin-sick a.].
1818: Scott Br. Lamm. xi, “To hazard my soul in telling lees.”
1871: Meredith H. Richmond xii, “Labour you will in my vessel, for your soul's health.”
soul, n.
 b. In phrases implying the death of a person.    See also betake v. 2, and cf. commend v. 1b.
a1122: O.E. Chron. (Laud MS.) an. 1012 “And his þa haliᵹan sawle to Godes rice asende.”
c1275: Passion our Lord 482 in O.E. Misc. 51 “Vader ich myne soule biteche in þyne honde.”
a1300: Cursor M. 210 “How our leuedi endid and yald Hir sely saul.”
c1375: Sc. Leg. Saints x. (Matthew) 312 “Eglippus in til gud elde, to god of hewyne, þe sawle can ȝeld.”
a1400: Isumbras 733 “My saule I wyte into thy hande, For I kepe to lyffe no mare!”
c1470: Henry Wallace ii. 175 “All weildand God, resawe My petows spreit and sawle.”
1516: Test. Ebor. (Surtees) VI. 1, “I bequeath my soull to the holie Trinitie.”
1596: Dalrymple tr. Leslie's Hist. Scot. II. 130 “King Henrie..his saul commendis to God, and his body to the clay.”
1819: [see resign v. 1 1d].
soul, n.
 11. Used in various asseverative phrases or as an exclamation, as by, for, on or upon (one's) soul, etc.    The Eng. Dial. Dict. gives a number of similar examples.
a. 1362: Langl. P. Pl. A. viii. 23 “For þei sworen bi heore soule—`so God hem moste helpe!'”
c1386: Chaucer Prol. 781 “Now, by my fadres soule, that is deed.”
1579: Spenser Sheph. Cal. Sept. 248 “Now by my soule Diggon, I lament The haplesse mischief, that has thee hent.”
1586: J. Ferne Blaz. Gentrie 22 “By my Vather's Zoule they semen most of churles not of gentle blood.”
a1704: T. Brown Dial. Dead Wks. 1711 IV. 47 “Be mee Shoul, and bee Chreest and St. Patrick.”
1762: Foote Orator ii. Wks. 1799 I. 216 “By my shoul but I will spake.”
1800: Coleridge Christabel ii. xxviii, “By my mother's soul do I entreat That thou this woman send away!”
1825: Scott Talism. xvii, “Now, by King Henry's soul! [etc.].”    b.
c1386: Chaucer Reeve's T. 343 “Thou, Iohn, thou swynesheed, awak For cristes saule.”
1728: Ramsay Monk & Miller's Wife 243 “Whate'er you see be nought surpriz'd, But for your saul move not your tongue.”
1807: Syd. Smith Lett. Catholics Wks. 1859 II. 153/1, “I cannot for the soul of me conceive whence this man has gained his notions of Christianity.”
1826: Disraeli Viv. Grey vi. i, “For the soul of ye you wouldn't know it from the greenest Tokay.”
1894: `J. S. Winter' Red Coats 63 “But for the life and soul of him he could not help thinking about her.”    c.
c1450: Lovelich Graal liii. 116 “Sire,..vppon Oure sowles þe sothe we scholen ȝow seyne.”
1482: Cely Papers (Camden) 106 “Thay sayd howr mother schulld go on preschesyon on Corpys Kyrste day..and a my sowyll howr mother whent at that day.”
a1510: Douglas K. Hart ii. 100 “Now, on my saule, ȝe ar bot lurdanis all!”
1604: Shakes. Oth. v. ii. 181 “Vpon my Soule, a Lye; a wicked Lye.”
1693: Congreve Old Bach. ii. iii, “What ever the Matter is, O my Sol, I'm afraid you'l follow evil Courses.”
1749: Fielding Tom Jones xiv. vii, “Should any fatal Accident follow, as upon my Soul I am afraid will.”
1824: Scott St. Ronan's xxxvi, “`On my soul,' said Mowbray, `you must mean Solmes!'”
1842: S. Lover Handy Andy ix, “But, 'pon my sowl, the next time I go buy hay, I'll take care that Saint Pether hasn't any hand in it.”
1878: H. Smart Play or Pay viii, “`Upon my soul,' rejoined the Hussar, `I think' [etc.].”    d.
1613: Shakes. Hen. VIII, iv. i. 44 “Sir, as I haue a Soule, she is an Angell.”
1760-1: Smollett Sir L. Greaves I. v, “As I'm a precious saoul, a looks as if a saw something.”    e.
1796: Gall Elegy on Pudding Lizzie viii, “Saul! how it sharpen'd ilka ane.”
1818: Scott Br. Lamm. iii, “Saul, your honour, and that I am.”
1845: Disraeli Sybil (1863) 72 “Soul alive, but those..are rotten, snickey, bad yarns.”
1896: `Ian Maclaren' Kate Carnegie 282 “But sall, she focht her battle weel.”
soul, n.
 c. local. (See quots., and cf. ghost-moth.)
1851: N. & Q. 1st Ser. III. 220 “The country-people used to in my youth..call night-flying white moths, especially the Hepialus humuli,..`souls'.”
1861: All Year Round 1 June 234 “To this day, in the north and west of England, the moths that fly into candles are called Saules.”
soul, n.
 III. 12. The disembodied spirit of a (deceased) person, regarded as a separate entity, and as invested with some amount of form and personality:
soul, n.
 a. With poss. pron. or gen., or implying this.
971: Blickl. Hom. 211 “Uton nu biddan Sanctus Michael..þæt he ure saula ᵹelæde on ᵹefean.”
c1050: O.E. Chron. (MS. C) an. 1036, “Syððan hine man byriᵹde,..on þam suð portice, seo saul is mid Criste.”
c1205: Lay. 29634 “Heofne is þe al ȝaru, þider scal þi saulen uaren.”
c1250: Gen. & Ex. 4136 “His bodi was biried wið angeles hond,..In to lef reste his sowle wond.”
c1300: Havelok 245 “Þat God self shulde his soule leden Into heuene.”
c1385: Chaucer L.G.W. 2493 Phyllis, “The deuyl sette here soules bothe a fere.”
c1420: in 26 Pol. Poems 108 “Contrary to godis hest Þou purchasest þy saule helle prisoun.”
1474: Caxton Chesse ii. iv. (1883) 52 “They lyue in her sowles gloriously that ben slain..for the comyn wele.”
1560: J. Daus tr. Sleidane's Comm. 115b, “It was beleved certenly that dead mens soules dyd walke after they were buried.”
1599: A. Hume Hymns i. 131 “Then sall my singing saull reioyce, And flee aboue the skie.”
1615: G. Sandys Trav. 266 “Saint German..here found the soule of Pascasus tormented with heate.”
1833: Tennyson May Queen iii. xi, “I know The blessed music went that way my soul will have to go.”
1875: Jowett Plato (ed. 2) I. 343 “Another world in which the souls of the dead are gathered together.”
soul, n.
 b. With a, the, and in pl.
971: Blickl. Hom. 67 “Mycelne bite Drihten dyde on helle þa he þyder astaᵹ,..& þa halᵹan sauwla þonon alædde.”
Ibid. 209 “On ðæm clife hangodan..maniᵹe swearte saula be heora handum ᵹebundne.”
c1200: Trin. Coll. Hom. 115 “Þo folȝede ure helende michel feord of englen and of holie soules.”
c1275: Passion our Lord 682 in O.E. Misc. 56 “Þe veond of helle hedde muchel onde Vor hi by-nomen him saulen.”
c1330: R. Brunne Chron. Wace (Rolls) 9184 “Payens & Cristen, many were slawen, & many a sowle fro body drawen.”
c1386: Chaucer Prol. 510 “A chaunterie for soules.”
c1430: Compend. Old Treat. in Roy Rede me (Arb.) 180 “They be cowntable of as many sowlys as dyen in thys default.”
1470-85: Malory Arthur xvi. xiii. 681 “Thenne oure lord Ihesus Cryste shewed hym vnto yow in the lykenes of a sowle that suffred grete anguysshe.”
1513: Douglas Æneid vi. xi. 3 “Sawlis..quhilkis wer for to wend To mydle erd, and thair in bodeis ascend.”
1596: R. H. tr. Lavaterus's Ghostes & Spir. 61 “With whome the same soule meeting as it did before, lamented very much.”
1616: J. Lane Contn. Sqr.'s T. iv. 46 note, “And in her glasse, white soles ascendinge, spied the narrowe waie to theire Lord glorified.”
1683: Norris Plato's Two Cupids iv. Misc. (1687) 88 “So Devils and damned Souls in hell Fry in the fire with which they dwell.”
1750: Gray Elegy 89 “On some fond breast the parting soul relies.”
1812: Byron Ch. Har. ii. viii, “If..there be A land of souls beyond that sable shore.”
1899: Daily News 17 Apr. 4/3 “The idea was that the soul was a little bloodless, fleshless thing.”
soul, n.
 14. a. Used with defining adj. to denote a person of a particular character or in respect of some quality; freq. with a touch of contempt, compassion, or familiarity.    Common in the 16th and 17th centuries.
1519: North Co. Wills (Surtees) 105 “Euery yere..to give xd. to x poore soulles.”
a1548: Hall Chron., Hen. V, 60b, “Innumerable sely solles dayly died and hourely starued.”
1602: Marston Antonio's Rev. v. v, “Call Julio hither. Where's the little sowle? I sawe him not to-day.”
1665: Extr. Sel. P. rel. Friends (1912) III. 247 “The honest Soules..ar much aflicted to be reuiled..by the bold faction.”
1806: J. Beresford Miseries Hum. Life vii. xix, “Paying a long visit at the retired house of a well meaning Soul.”
1833: H. Martineau Loom & Lugger i. v, “It was very well the poor soul had not had a long illness.”
1874: Burnand My Time i. 3 “Nurse Davis, the kindest soul in the world, and very fond of my mother.”
soul, n.
 13. a. A person, an individual; a living thing. Chiefly in enumeration, or with every.
[c1000: Ælfric Gen. ii. 7 “And se man wæs ᵹeworht on libbendre sawle.”]    
c1320: Cast. Love 448 “Nis þer nout in world..Þat nis destrued..But eiȝte soulen þt weren i-ȝemed In þe schup.”
c1381: Chaucer Parl. Foules 33 “Erthe and soulis that thereon dwelle.”
1535: Coverdale Lev. xi. 46 “All maner of soules yt crepe vpon earth.”
c1550: [? G. Walker] Detect. Dice-Play Div, “He wilbe your cuntry man at least, & peraduenture either of kinne or aly, or some soule sib vnto you.”
1632: Lithgow Trav. ii. 52 “Below the middle part, there was but one body, and aboue the middle there was two liuing soules, each one separated from another.”
1672: Petty Pol. Anat. (1691) 18 “The number of British slain in 11 years was 112 thousand Souls.”
1724: Briton No. 24. 104 “We have now pretty accurately ascertain'd the Number of Souls..existing in England.”
1776: Earl Carlisle in Jesse Selwyn & Contemp. (1844) III. 158 “Not the worse for having levanted every soul at Newmarket.”
1819: Byron Juan ii. lxi, “Nine souls more went in her: the long-boat still Kept above water.”
1861: M. Pattison Ess. (1889) I. 38 “The frail craft capsized, and Hartmann, with nearly every soul on board, went down in her.”
1894: Wolseley Marlb. I. 245 “There were about three hundred souls on board.”
soul, n.
 b. In negative phrases, esp. not a soul.
1610: Shakes. Temp. i. ii. 209 “Not a soule But felt a Feauer.”
1759: Sterne Tr. Shandy ii. v, “When you are predetermined to take no one soul's advice.”
1775: F. Burney Early Diary, Let. 10 June, “We had not a soul beyond our own family.”
1811: Shelley in Hogg Life (1858) I. 391, “I am what the sailors call `banyaning'. I do not see a soul.”
1857: W. Collins Dead Secret iii. i, “He allowed no living soul..to enter the house.”
1897: A. Morrison Dorrington Deed-box i, “I shall be all alone, without a soul to say a word to.”
soul, n.
 c. dial. Used in the pl. as a form of address: Friends, fellows.
1874: T. Hardy Far from Madding Crowd lvii, “Come in, souls, and have something to eat and drink.”
1892: `Q.' (Quiller Couch) Three Ships ii, “Well, souls, we was a bit tiddlywinky last Michaelmas.”
soul, n.
 d. In Tsarist Russia, a serf. Also transf.
1806: M. Wilmot Jrnl. 17 Aug. in Russ. Jrnls. (1934) iii. 271 “One..often hears two Ladies..talking to each other about the sale of Lands, purchase of Souls (slaves).”
1895: C. Garnett tr. Turgenev's Fathers & Children i. 2 “Nikolai Petrovitch Kirsanov..had..a fine property of two hundred souls, or, as he expressed it—since he had arranged the division of his land with the peasants..of nearly five thousand acres.”
1943: E. M. Almedingen Frossia iv. 169 “The good Boyarin made it known that her dowry would be..five hundred souls, all under the age of fifty.”
1969: V. G. Kiernan Lords of Human Kind vi. 225 “Africans were being disposed of as Europeans were by their princes not long before, when the Congress of Vienna..distributed them in lots of so many thousand `souls'.”
1977: V. S. Pritchett Gentle Barbarian i. 5 “Spasskoye was..a self-sufficient feudal community..an empire numbering 5,000 `souls'.”
soul, n.
 17. The bore of a cannon (see quot. 1571).    So F. l'âme d'un canon.
1571: Digges Pantom. (1591) 176 “Forasmuch as by the direction of the hollowe Cylinder..of the Peece, the violence of all shot of great Artillerye is not onely directed but also increased, I call that hollowe Cylinder of the Peece her Soule.”
1626: Capt. Smith Accid. Yng. Seamen 32 “Particuler..tearmes for great Ordnances, as the concaue, trunke, cylinder, the soule or bore of a peece.”
1669: Sturmy Mariner's Mag. v. xii. 62, “I find..the soule or bore to be 1 inch out of his place.”
soul, n.
 18. The sound-post of a violin.
1838: Penny Mag. 30 June 246/2 “This peg is called the sounding-post, or, as the French term it, the soul of the violin.”
1854: Brewer Sound 145 “The object of this prop, called the sound-post or `soul' of the violin, is..to make the face and back vibrate in exact unison.”
1868: Airy Sound 167.
soul, n.
 b. Used parenthetically, or with like.
1572: Satir. Poems Reform. xxxi. 112 “Sillie saulis, thay ar sa daft.”
1594: Kyd Cornelia v. 63 “He made his Pyoners (poore weary soules)..to dig..new Trenches.”
1663: S. Patrick Parab. Pilgr. xx. (1687) 200 “Poor Soul! who puts us upon doing..but knows not what it is to believe.”
1782: Cowper Gilpin 65 “Now mistress Gilpin (careful soul!) Had two stone bottles found.”
1811: C. K. Sharpe Let. Corr. 1888 I. 493 “For his errors, poor soul! were venial.”
1850: Kingsley A. Locke (1876) I. 7 “She would have stuffed my ears with cotton, kind careful soul.”
1870: Dickens E. Drood i, “Ye'll remember like a good soul.”
soul, n.
 c. With more distinct implication of sense 2 or 3.
1635: Quarles Embl. ii. v, “What mean dull souls, in this high measure, To haberdash In earth's base wares.”
1685: Gracian's Courtier's Orac. 154 “The least atome of baseness is inconsistent with the generosity of great Souls.”
1721: Ramsay Prospect of Plenty 129 “Active sauls a stagnant life despise.”
1741-2: Gray Agrip. 126 “Rough, stubborn souls, That struggle with the yoke.”
1841-4: Emerson Ess., History Wks. (Bohn) I. 7 “It has been said, that `common souls pay with what they do—nobler souls with that which they are'.”
1871: Morley Carlyle in Crit. Misc. Ser. i. 215 “It was not science for headlong and impatient souls.”
soul, n.
 15. In pregnant use:
soul, n.
 a. (See quot.) Obs. —0
a1700: B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, “He is a Soul, or loves Brandy.”
soul, n.
 b. One in whom the spiritual or intellectual qualities predominate (rare). The Souls, a late nineteenth-century aristocratic coterie with predominantly cultural and intellectual interests.
1814: Byron Diary 19 Feb., “Just returned from seeing Kean in Richard. By Jove, he is a soul!”
1890: B. Potter Jrnl. 31 Dec. (1982) I. 349 “Balfour..would crush them in the intervals between a flirtation with one of the `Souls' and the reading of a French novel.”
1895: Daily News 9 Dec. 7/1 “Brought up by such a mother, the Lady Marcella naturally became something of a Soul.”
1934: H. G. Wells Exper. Autobiogr. II. ix. 766 “The `Souls', the Balfour set.”
1980: D. Newsome On Edge of Paradise ii. 47 “The young and wealthy aspirants to public eminence and the eligible daughters of leading families... The group to be christened by Lord Charles Beresford in 1888 `the Souls'.”
soul, n.
 16. (See later quots.) Now dial.
1530: Palsgr. 273/1 “Soule of a capon or gose, ame.”
1591: Percivall Sp. Dict., “Molleja, the tender parte in any birde, which in a goose we call the soule, Præcordia.”
1774: Goldsm. Nat. Hist. (1862) II. i. i. 5 “Their lungs, which are commonly called the sole, stick fast to the sides of the ribs and back.”
1876: I. Banks Manch. Man xliv, “One of his favourite tid-bits was that spongy lining of a goose's frame known as the soul.”
soul, n.
 IV. In various special or technical uses.
soul, n.
 V. attrib. and Comb.
soul, n.
 19. Genitive combs.:
soul, n.
 a. With forms representing the OE. gen. sing. sáwle, as soul-boot, leech, etc. See also soul-heal, -health.    Also with gen. pl. saulene for OE. sáwla.
c1200: Ormin 10194 “Hefennlike mahhte, Þatt mihhte turrnenn swillke menn To sekenn *sawlebote.”
a1225: Ancr. R. 182 “Þus is sicnesse *soule leche.”
1375: in Horstmann Altengl. Leg. (1878) 138/2 “Praye we..Þat god..Be his soule leche.”
1411: 26 Pol. Poems 42, “I..Bycom a man to be ȝoure soule leche.”
c1200: Ormin 12621 “To lokenn whatt itt tæcheþþ uss Off ure *sawle nede.”
13..: Minor Poems fr. Vernon MS. xxxvii. 733 “He..seiþ hit is þe *soule note Þat þe prest seiþ and doþ.”
c1375: Sc. Leg. Saints vi. (Thomas) 490 “Ve suld set our maste delyte In goddis vord fore *sawle profyte.”
c1470: Gol. & Gaw. 269 “Be the pilgramage compleit I pas for *saull prow.”
c1412: Hoccleve De Reg. Princ. 4440 “His lordes *soule salue he from hym hydith.”
c1200: Ormin Pref. 102 “Icc wile shæwenn ȝuw Hu mikell *sawle sellþe..unnderrfoþ..all þatt lede.”
13..: Minor Poems fr. Vernon MS. xxxvii. 781 “Al þat þe bodi lykeþ wel Is aȝeyn þe *soule wille.”
soul, n.
 b. With the form soul's, as soul's-city, -darling, friend.
1593: Nashe Christ's Tears Wks. (Grosart) IV. 157 “He..cannot chuse but haue his soules-cittie soone raced.”
1605: 1st Pt. Jeronimo i. ii. 65 “Adew, soules friend.”
1874: L. Carr J. Gwynne I. vi. 182 “An always erring and very faulty soul's-darling.”
soul, n.
 20. Simple attrib., as soul-affair, -blood, -case, concern)ment, -minster, -power, -work, etc.    The number of attributive uses is very large, and in this and the following groups only a few of the older or more important are illustrated.
1672: O. Heywood Diaries (1883) III. 198 “He..was very stupid about *soul-affaires.”
1629: Donne Serm. cix. Wks. 1839 IV. 492 “Adam is but..red earth, earth dyed red in blood, in *soul-blood.”
1848: Bailey Festus (ed. 3) 41 “Corruption..is in Your soul-blood and your soul-bones.”
1699: O. Heywood Diaries (1885) IV. 195 “Elizabeth Sonier came to discourse with me in *soul-cases.”
1654: Whitlock Zootomia 393 “The Cures (attempted) by a..ranckerous Spirit, are wounds in this *Soule-chirurgery.”
1742-3: Observ. upon Methodists 23, “I hear some are under *Soul concern.”
1675: O. Heywood Diaries (1883) III. 165, “I talk with them about *soul-concernments.”
1619: W. Y. To Rdr. in Hieron's Wks. II. 424 “Gods gracious preseruing from *soule-destruction.”
1617: Hieron Ibid. 191 “One fit of *soule-disturbance will make all those kinds of gladnesse to flee away like a dreame.”
1645: Rutherford Tryal & Tri. Faith (1845) 93 “Christ promiseth *Soul-ease.”
1646: W. Jenkyn Remora 13 “Are your heartiest, your *soul-endeavours set upon Reformation?”
1726: Wodrow Corr. (1843) III. 239 “Besides much spiritual *soul exercise, it contained many valuable hints at facts.”
1816: Scott Old Mort. xlii, “The Cameronians..boasted frequently of Burley's soul-exercises.”
a1638: Mede Wks. (1672) 631 “This order of Dæmons, or *Soul-gods, as I may call them.”
1654: Gataker Disc. Apol. 75 “Because he would not dissolv the *soul-harmonie of weak persons.”
1645: Rutherford Tryal & Tri. Faith (1845) 260 “That death, that *soul-hell in the want of Christ.”
a1618: Sylvester Paradox agst. Libertie 1089 Wks. (Grosart) II. 65 “In *soule idlenesse, to spend so large a time.”
1677: J. Elliot in Birch Life of Boyle Wks. 1772 I. p. xxvi, “The Lord's work of *soul-instruction and edification.”
1662: Hibbert Body Divinity i. 127 “*Soul-light is not enough to make us truly wise.”
1937: Blunden Elegy 16 “Foremost of all a matin hymn From these *soul-minsters leaps aloft.”
a1930: D. H. Lawrence Phoenix (1936) v. 607 “They combine with their *soul-power some great technical skill.”
c1620: J. Davies (Heref.) Commendatory Poems, Sylvester Wks. (Grosart) II. 15/1 “Here is stor'd such sweet *Soule-ravishments.”
1689: Mem. Rokeby (Surtees) 12 “A sister that..has rec[eive]d..much *soule-refreshment.”
1581: Allen Apologie 9b, “*Soul rightes (without which men perish doubtlesse euerlastingly).”
1657: F. Cockin Div. Blossomes 12 “That which unto *Soul-safety much doth tend.”
1648: Gage West Ind. iv. 14 “That occasion of some *soul-sanctification.”
1641: F. Greville On Episc. 97 “They have come to cutting off Eares, Cheeks, and have yet struck deeper, and essayed many *Soule-Schismes.”
1646: Trapp Comm. John xiii. 25 “John.., who knew Christ's *soul-secrets.”
1883: Jefferies Story of my Heart 49 “The circumambient ether..is full of soul-secrets.”
1656: E. Reyner Rules Govt. Tongue 269 “Some..have drunk very deep of the cup of *soul-troubles.”
1690: C. Nesse Hist. O. & N. Test. I. 142 “Idolizing the Virgin Mary.., equalling her milk unto Christs blood for *soul vertue.”
a1618: Sylvester Mem. Mortalitie lxxxi. Wks. (Grosart) II. 227 “Mock-Saints, whose *Soul-weal on your Works you lay.”
1668: R. Steele Husbandm. Call. v. (1672) 85 “*Soul-work never goes on, unless we have a mind to work.”
1927: D. H. Lawrence Let. 9 Jan. (1932) 679 “Painting is more fun and less *soul-work than writing.”
1834: K. H. Digby Mores Cath. v. iv. 109 “It was the reflection of God. It was the invisible world, the *soul world.”
1600: W. Watson Decacordon (1602) 268 “Respecting the danger of *soule-wracke.”
soul, n.
 21. With the names of persons, etc. (chiefly agent-nouns), as soul carrier, -curer, -mate, -thief, -twister, etc.
1553: Becon Jewel of Joy Pref., “The mumbling masses of those lasy *soule cariers.”
1598: Shakes. Merry W. iii. i. 100 “*Soule-Curer, and Body-Curer.”
1825: Cobbett Rur. Rides (1885) II. 88 “There is no parsonage house for a soul-curer to stay in.”
1785: Grose Dict. Vulgar T., “*Soul doctor,..a parson.”
1880: W. Newton in Serm. Boys & Girls (1881) 148 “The Pharisees called themselves teachers or soul-doctors.”
a1700: B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, “*Soul-driver, a Parson.”
1682: Bunyan Gtness. of Soul Wks. (Offor) I. 142 “This is a *soul-fool, a fool of the biggest size.”
1656: E. Reyner Rules Govt. Tongue 203 “Receive Reprovers as the Angels of God, as our *soul-friends.”
1382: Wyclif Gen. iii. 14 “Thow shalt be cursid among alle the *soule hauers and beestis of the erthe.”
c1375: Sc. Leg. Saints xxvii. (Machor) 1457 “All þe folk of þat cyte..to sanct morise but mare ar went, & hyme as fadire & *saule-hyrd Resauit sone.”
1682: Bunyan Gtness. of Soul Wks. (Offor) I. 140 “Every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world (of *soul losers) become guilty before God.”
1822: Coleridge Lett., Convers., etc. II. 89 “You must have a *Soulmate as well as a House or Yoke-mate.”
1915: F. M. Hueffer Good Soldier iii. v. 202 “He thought that Mrs Basil had been his *soulmate.”
1976: Botham & Donnelly Valentino ix. 71 “Convinced that he had found the woman who would be his life's soulmate.”
1812: Colman Br. Grins, Two Parsons xiv, “Great Britain's principal *Soul-mender Liveth at Lambeth Palace.”
1650: Trapp Comm. Deut. xxiv. 7 “Of which sort of *soul-merchants, there are now-a-dayes found not a few.”
1530: Tindale Wks. (Parker Soc.) 437 “If he minister it not truly and freely unto us,..he is a thief and a *soul-murderer.”
1825: Scott Talism. xxviii, “`Oh, procrastination!' exclaimed the Hermit, `thou art a soul-murderer!'”
1854: Faber Growth in Holiness (1872) xxii. 430 “The Church is a living *soul-saver.”
1540: Coverdale Fruitful Less. iii. Wks. (Parker Soc.) I. 357 “Therefore are many curates and *soul-shepherds so faint and cold to preach..Christ.”
1682: Bunyan Gtness. of Soul Wks. (Offor) I. 143 “Choose for thyself good soul-shepherds.”
1593: Nashe Christ's Tears Wks. (Grosart) IV. 120, “I deale more searchingly then common *soule-surgions accustome.”
1889: W. B. Yeats Lett. to New Island (1934) 195 “Perhaps they are evil-spirits, these *soul-thiefs, and not fairies at all.”
1928: D. H. Lawrence Phoenix II (1968) 284 “Dmitri Karamazov doesn't go half the lengths of the other Russian *soul-twisters.”
1956: D. Gascoyne Night Thoughts 33 “This soultwister blisters the paint of the set.”
soul, n.
 22. With vbl. ns., as soul-craving, -feasting, humbling, -making, -mating, -prompting, -transfiguring, etc.
1602: J. Davies (Heref.) Mirum in Modum Wks. (Grosart) I. 11/1 “The Spirit of Man..Should not, to such Soule-swillings base decline.”
c1670: O. Heywood Diaries (1881) II. 341 “This fasting is soul-feasting.”
1685: Ibid. (1885) IV. 113 “How many sweet sabboths,..how many soul-humblings.”
1818: Bentham Church-of-Englandism 329 “The..maintenance of this corrupt system..on pretence of souls-saving.”
1819: Keats Lett. (1958) II. 102 “Call the world if you Please `The vale of Soul-making'.”
1875: McLean Gospel in Psalms 203 “The wonder should not deprive us of..the soul-heartening.”
1891: The Tablet 7 Nov. 743 “Christ by a few words of teaching filled the soul-craving of multitudes.”
1922: Joyce Ulysses 138 “If aught that the..hand of sculptor has wrought in marble of soultransfigured and of soul-transfiguring deserves to live.”
a1930: D. H. Lawrence Phoenix (1936) v. 605 “Man just doesn't know how to interpret his own soul-promptings.”
1939: A. Huxley After Many a Summer x. 140 “Love, Passion, Soul-mating—all in upper-case letters.”
1958: Times Lit. Suppl. 21 Feb. 101/2 “The mid-Victorian novelists..thought of it [sc. Oxford] as a moral testing-ground or `a vale of soul-making'.”
soul, n.
 23. With pres. pples. forming objective combs., as soul-adorning, -amazing, -awakening, -boiling, -deadening, -destroying, -inspiring, -satisfying, -searing, -shattering, -stirring, -testing, etc., adjs.    The number of these is very great, esp. in the works of John Davies of Hereford and J. Beaumont, who have soul-afflicting, -attracting, -blinding, -catching, -cheering, -commanding, -conquering, etc.
a1618: Sylvester Panaretus 839 “Of all *Soule-adorning Giftes divine,..the Monarchie is Mine.”
1688: Bunyan Heavenly Footman (1886) 139 “What a *soul-amazing word will that be.”
a1822: Shelley Posthumous Poems (1824) 320 “*Soul-awakening music, sweet and strong.”
1926: C. Barry Detective's Holiday iv. 33 “Suddenly a soul-awakening boom behind him smote his ears.”
1606: Sylvester Du Bartas ii. iv. ii. Magnificence 19 “Here in Sonnets, there in Epigrams, Evaporate your sweet *Soule-boyling Flames.”
1612: J. Davies (Heref.) Muse's Sacrifice Ep. Ded., “Shapers, and Soules of all *Soule-charming Rimes!”
1600: Tourneur Transf. Metam. x. 68 “T'enrich her coffers with *soule-choaking dust.”
1591: Shakes. Two Gent. ii. vi. 16 “Twenty thousand *soule-confirming oathes.”
1601: G. Markham Mary Magd. Lam. Pref. 19 “Yea, *soule-confounding sinne so far hath crept.”
1609: J. Davies (Heref.) Holy Rood Wks. (Grosart) I. 9/2 “T'was time to turne His *Soule-conuerting Eies To thee peruerted Peter.”
1868: J. H. Newman Verses Var. Occas. 125 “So we her flame must trim, Around His soul-converting sign.”
1659: Pell Impr. Sea 76 note, “*Soul-corrupting discourse.”
1837: Syd. Smith Serm. Duties Queen Wks. 1859 II. 253/1 “For all the soul-corrupting homage with which she is met.”
a1708: Beveridge Thes. Theol. (1711) III. 347 “Drunkenness..is a *soul-damning sin.”
1909: Mrs. H. Ward Daphne viii. 186 “This dull, *soul-deadening English life.”
1937: Atlantic Monthly CLIX. 57/1 “Exact information which really can be taught is despised as soul-deadening.”
a1626: J. Davies (Heref.) Sonn. Sir E. Dyer Wks. (Grosart) I. 100/1 “Minerua and the Muse ioyes my Soule's sence, Sith *Soule-delighting lines they multiplie.”
1677: Gale Crt. Gentiles iii. 64 “The Devil, their great Apollo or *Soul destroying God.”
1865: Tylor Early Hist. Man. vii. 159 “Graving on a folded tablet many soul-destroying things.”
1898: G. B. Shaw Candida 11, in Plays Pleasant 123 “What dreadful—what *soul-destroying cynicism!”
1930: Engineering 25 July 111/3 “A common indictment against modern conditions is that machine tending is `soul-destroying'.”
1976: J. Snow Cricket Rebel 40 “It was often soul destroying. On wet wickets or slow ones, I was expected to charge up and down and let it go when I knew I had no earthly chance of getting anything out of the wicket.”
1642-4: Vicars God in Mount 45 “The *soul-devouring corruptions of these Clergy-caterpillers.”
1898: W. Graham Last Links 116 “Eyes fixed with an earnest, soul-devouring gaze upon his companion.”
1748: Thomson Cast. Indol. i. xxxix, “Aerial music..breathed such *soul-dissolving airs, As did [etc.].”
1603: J. Davies (Heref.) Microcosmos Pref., “O that I had a *Soule-enchanting Tongue.”
1680: Reyner Serm. Funeral Ld. Holles 20 “He was careful therefore to store his mind with all *soul-ennobling vertues.”
1868: J. H. Newman Verses Var. Occas. 37 “This their soul-ennobling gain.”
1647: Trapp Comm. 1 Cor. vii. 5 “Fasting-days are *soul-fatting days.”
1595: Shakes. John ii. i. 383 “Their *soule-fearing clamours haue braul'd downe The flintie ribbes of this contemptuous Citie.”
1600: Tourneur Transf. Metam. viii. 54 “*Soule-frighting horrors.”
1648: J. Beaumont Psyche viii. cxiii, “*Soule-knawing Worms.”
1848: Buckley Iliad 127 “To fight with the strength of soul-gnawing strife.”
1748: Richardson Clarissa VI. 165 “Thy *soul-harrowing intelligence.”
1593: Nashe Christ's Tears Wks. (Grosart) IV. 225 “A *soule imitating deuill.”
1794: J. Trumbull in Columbian Muse 58 “And damp'd, alas! thy *soul-inspiring ray, Where Virtue prompted and where Genius soar'd.”
1979: `A. Hailey' Overload ii. i. 106, “I guess it's real soul-inspiring to work in a ritzy layout like this.”
1590: Shakes. Com. Err. i. ii. 100 “*Soule-killing Witches, that deforme the bodie.”
1866: S. B. James Duty & Doctrine (1871) 94 “This habit is so enervating, so soul killing.”
1690: C. Nesse Hist. O. & N. Test. I. 24 “Man should be..a life-loving creature,..also a *soul loving creature.”
a1721: Sheffield (Dk. Buckhm.) Wks. (1753) I. 87 “No writing lifts exalted man so high, As sacred and *soul-moving poesy.”
1816: Wordsw. `Imagination-ne'er before content' 68 “The deep soul-moving sense Of religious eloquence.”
1690: C. Nesse Hist. O. & N. Test. I. 137, “I shall one day perish by the hand of those *soul-murthering Sauls.”
1648: J. Beaumont Psyche viii. xxxvi, “This noble Face; by whose *soul-piercing raies The Gentiles..Admonish'd are to..tread the open paths of highnoon Light.”
1870: J. H. Newman Grammar of Assent ii. x. 386 “That fearful antagonism brought out with such soul-piercing reality by Lucretius.”
1601: Weever Mirr. Mart. (Roxb.) 208 “My crownd, *soule-pleasing, sweet joy, mirth and plesure.”
1697: Congreve Mourn. Bride iii. vi, “That *soul-racking Thought.”
1809-10: Shelley `Oh! take the pure gem' 18 “Long visions of soul-racking pain.”
1650: Baxter Saints' R. 716 “These spiritual, excellent, *soul-raising duties.”
1613-6: W. Browne Brit. Past. ii. lii, “All-loved Draiton in *soul-raping straines, A genuine noat..Began to tune.”
a1618: Sylvester Tetrastica lxxii, “The Charm Of those *soule-rapting Impes of Acheloes.”
1603: J. Davies (Heref.) An Extasie Wks. (Grosart) I. 94/1 “Maie-bowes..Where out shal breath *soule-ravishing perfume.”
1673: Hickeringill Greg. F. Greyb. 264 “Those soul-ravishing opportunities.”
1782: tr. Mme. de Gomez's Belle A. II. 195 “With what *soul-rending Agonies was it that [etc.].”
1657: F. Cockin Div. Blossomes 48 “So sweet, so clean, So *Soul-reviving.”
1833: H. Blunt Lect. Hist. St. Paul II. 55 “Those waters of life..so soul-reviving and soul-strengthening.”
a1708: Beveridge Thes. Theol. (1711) III. 7 “Rejoice in Him..as a *soul-satisfying God in Himself.”
1890: Kipling Life's Handicap (1891) 151 “He was afraid for the sake of another—which is the most soul-satisfying fear known to man.”
1939: F. Scott Fitzgerald Lett. (1964) 48 “It is not very soul-satisfying because it [sc. the cinema] is a business of telling stories fit for children.”
1936: Times Lit. Suppl. 21 Mar. 242/3 “We are..given a *soul-searing account of a Russian pogrom.”
1979: `A. Hailey' Overload iii. xii. 253 “A week and a half had passed since the soul-searing night when he learned that Ruth's life was endangered by cancerous cells at large in her body.”
1731: A. Hill Advice to Poets xi, “*Soul-shaking Sovereigns of the Passions.”
1899: Kipling From Sea to Sea II. xxv. 5 “The result is *soul-shattering.”
1974: R. Harris Double Snare xi. 73 “She and I had a soul-shattering row, and weren't on speaking terms.”
1688: Bunyan Jerus. Sinner Saved (1886) 124 “Unreasonable and *soul-sinking doubts.”
1609: J. Davies (Heref.) Holy Rood Wks. (Grosart) I. 10/1 “*Soule-slaying Schismaticke, nor God, nor Man.”
1834: Tait's Mag. I. 173/2 “Honest, upright, amiable, patriotic,..and *soul-stirring David!”
1927: Granta 14 Oct. 9/1 “He rapidly composed and delivered a few soul-stirring orations.”
1648: J. Beaumont Psyche xviii. cxl, “Whilst yet with Charis's *soulsubduing heat Her melted and convicted heart did beat.”
1892: W. S. Lilly Gt. Enigma 303 “That heart-bewildering soul-subduing problem of evil.”
1591: Sylvester Du Bartas i. vii. 333 “Th' ill humours That vex his most-Saints with *soul-tainting tumours.”
1932: Wodehouse Louder & Funnier 212 “The unmistakable look of a man who has passed through some *soul-testing experience.”
1965: J. A. Michener Source (1966) 192 “Captain Epher's plan of battle required daring from all the Hebrews and soul-testing courage from a few.”
1616: Drummond of Hawthornden Flowers of Sion (1630) 29 “A Sanctuarie from *Soule-thralling Snares.”
1598: J. Dickenson Greene in Conc. (1878) 104 “A sequell of many sorrowes, a Centurie of *sowltyring passions.”
a1634: Chapman Rev. for Honour ii. i. 268 “To feed the irregular flames of false suspicions And *soul-tormenting jealousies.”
1606: J. Davies (Heref.) Speculum Proditori Wks. (Grosart) II. 20/1 “None but *soule-wounding words for it are meete.”
1703: Quick Serious Inquiry 27 “These Heart-cutting, Soul-wounding Accidents.”
soul, n.
 24. With pa. pples., as soul-benumbed, -blinded, -born, -felt, -struck, -transfigured, etc.
1593: Nashe Christ's Tears Wks. (Grosart) IV. 173 “Others there be of these *soule-benummed Atheists.”
1612: Drayton Poly-olb. vi. 303 “*Soul-blinded sots that creep In dirt.”
1797: T. Park Sonn. 47 “Every *soul-born rapture..That flows from love sincere.”
a1635: Sibbes Confer. Christ & Mary Pref. (1656) 3 “A discourse..between a *soul-burthened sinner, and a burthen-removing Saviour.”
1617: Sir W. Mure Misc. Poems xxi. 25 “Whome snakie hatred, *soule conceav'd disdaine,..Did long in long antipathie detaine.”
1590: Spenser F.Q. i. x. 24 “Patience..comming to that *soule-diseased knight, Could hardly him intreat, to tell his griefe.”
1798: W. Sotheby tr. Wieland's Oberon (1826) II. 62 “A *soul-felt glance of heavenly joy.”
1764: Churchill Candidate 144 “Let no..*soul-gall'd Bishop damn me with a note.”
1794: Mrs. Radcliffe Myst. Udolpho i, “Ah, paint her form, her *soul-illumined eyes.”
1593: Nashe Christ's Tears Ep. Ded., “Were it effectually recured, in my *soule-infused lines.”
1603: J. Davies (Heref.) Microcosmos Wks. (Grosart) I. 14/2 “Ladies, and Lords, purse-pinched, and *Soule-pain'd.”
1949: Blunden After Bombing 3 “The child *soul-struck with the yellow flag's new fire.”
1632: Lithgow Trav. x. 435 “The *soule-sunke sorrow of godlesse Epicures and Hypocrites.”
1922: *Soul-transfigured [see soul-transfiguring, sense 22 above].
1611: Shakes. Wint. T. v. i. 58 “One worse [wife]..would make her Sainted Spirit Againe possesse her Corps, and on this Stage..appeare *Soule-vext.”
a1618: Sylvester Little Bartas 960 Wks. (Grosart) II. 93 “How many sin-sick did hee inly cure; And deep *soule-wounded binde-up, and assure!”
soul, n.
 25. With adjs., as soul-blind, -deep, -hydroptic, etc.
1600: Tourneur Transf. Metam. xxxviii. 261 “Th' exordium of ech soule-sweet argument.”
1616: R. Niccols Overbury's Vision (Hunterian Club) 51 “Those soule-blind men, whom they doe most betray.”
a1618: Sylvester Paradox agst. Libertie Wks. (Grosart) II. 56/1 “That good..wch soul-wise man must seek.”
1704: Norris Ideal World ii. xii. 479 “It hence follows that this..immutable truth be the only soul-perfective truth.”
1842: Card. Wiseman Prayer & Prayer-Bks. Ess. 1853 I. 379 “Everything is heart-felt, soul-deep.”
1855: Browning Grammarian's Funeral 95 “He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst).”
1888: R. Buchanan City of Dream viii. 161 “Then die! soul-sure thou hast not lived in vain.”
soul, n.
 26. Special combs., as soul-ale, an ale-drinking at the funeral of a person; a dirge ale; soul-bearer, among the Akan peoples of West Africa, a person deemed to carry within him the external soul of a ruler or important person; soul-body Spiritualism, a spiritual body (see spiritual a. 4a); soul-bolts pl., `the bolts which fasten the soul in place', used in various slang phrases expressive of surprise or shock; cf. soul-case below; soul brother, (a) a spiritual brother; (b) orig. U.S. Blacks, a fellow Black man; cf. soul sister below; soul-cake, a specially prepared cake or bun distributed in various northern or north-midland counties on All Souls' Day, esp. to parties of children who go `souling'; soul-candle, (a) ? one of several candles placed about the coffin at a funeral service; (b) [tr. Yiddish neshome licht, f. neshome soul (Heb. nešāmā) + licht light n. (G. licht)] in Judaism, a candle lit on the eve of the anniversary of a parent's death, and also on the eve of Yom Kippur (the custom is said to derive from Prov. xx. 27); soul-case, (a) slang, the body; (b) U.S. and Austral. slang, `the casing of the soul', chiefly used in slang phrases expressive of hardship or suffering; cf. soul-bolts above; soul-catcher, among various North American Indian peoples, a hollowed bone tube used by a medicine man to contain the soul of a sick person (see also quot. 1976); soul chaplain = soul-priest; soul-charm a., soul-charming; Soul City, an epithet applied to the Harlem area of New York city; also transf.; soul-doctor slang, (a) a clergyman; (b) a psychiatrist; soul-driver, (a) a clergyman; (b) U.S., a person who trades the services of convicts, indentured servants, or slaves; soul food, (a) fig. spiritual nourishment; (b) orig. U.S. Blacks, the kind of food typically eaten by Black people, spec. those foodstuffs originating in the southern states of America; soul-force = satyagraha; soul-friend (see quot. 1891); also in extended use (see quots. 1929, 1979); soul-house, a model or representation of a house placed by the ancient Egyptians in a tomb to receive the soul of a dead person; soul kiss = deep kiss s.v. deep a. IV. c; so soul-kiss v. trans.; hence soul-kissing vbl. n.; soul music, (a) fig. (see quot. 1900); (b) a type of music popularized by Black singers which incorporates elements of rhythm and blues and gospel music; also ellipt.: see sense 4b; soul-pence, -pennies, money subscribed by the members of a guild to pay for soul-masses; soul-priest, a priest having the special function of praying for the souls of the dead; soul-silver = soul-scot; soul sister orig. U.S. Blacks, a fellow Black woman; cf. soul-brother (b) above; soul-sleeper, one who holds the doctrine of psychopannychism; a psychopannychite; soul stuff, -substance, a hypothetical immaterial substance believed to form the `spirit' or `self' of each person (in some cultures also of animals and objects), and which is independent of the material body and outlives it.
1577: Harrison Descr. Eng. ii. i. (1877) i. 32 “The superfluous numbers of idle waks,..church-ales, helpe-ales, and *soule-ales, called also dirge-ales,..are well diminished.”
1951: E. L. R. Meyerowitz Sacred State of Akan ii. 51 “Like every king.., the queenmother has her elders, among whom are several spokeswomen, female akrafo or *soul-bearers.”
1967: Times 14 Nov. 17/2 (Advt.), “A Baga wood nimba shoulder mask,..an important large Ashanti gold soul-bearer's disc,..a large New Ireland Uli.”
1961: *Soul body [see exteriorize v.].
1971: Spiritualist Oct.-Dec. 6/2 “Help each other that your soul-body may rise in beauty and can be admired when you reach the World of Spirit.”
1850: H. Melville White Jacket II. xliv. 296 “Start my *soul-bolts, maties, if any more Blue Peters and sailing signals fly at my fore!”
1902: J. J. H. Burgess Some Shetland Folk 77 “If du has, I'll knock the bloomin' sowl-bolts out of him.”
1903: `T. Collins' Such is Life vi. 234 “`Wouldn't think that horse had a devil in him as big as a bull-dog,' observed the horse-driver. `Shake the soul-bolt out of a man, s'posen you do stick to him.'”
1742-3: Observ. upon Methodists 18 “Our glorious *Soul brother had it revealed to him in Spirit [etc.].”
1970: R. Lowell Notebook 151 “We were an empire, soul-brothers To Babylon and China.”
1978: Listener 20 July 90/1 “Baudelaire recognised in Poe a soul brother and mirror image.”
1959: Jazz Fall 291 “It's one of those type LPs. I had all `soul brothers'.”
1969: Listener 4 Sept. 319/3 “And if you think the main feeling being expressed is self-pity (and the self-generated violence and frustrations of self-pity), then so what? This is strictly for soul-brothers.”
1973: H. Nielsen Severed Key xiv. 144 “I've got some soul brothers hustling baggage at LAX.”
1686-7: Aubrey Remains (1881) 23 “There is an old Rhythm or saying, A *Soule-cake, a Soule-cake, Have mercy on all Christen soules for a Soule-cake.”
1896: P. H. Ditchfield Old Eng. Customs 167 “On All Souls' Day..it is still customary for children to go `a-souling', and soul-cakes are still offered and eaten in Shropshire on this day.”
1389: in Eng. Gilds (1870) 184 “[Four] *saulecandels [shall be found, and used in the burial services].”
1978: I. B. Singer Shosha viii. 141 “Toward the evening meal, she lit a large candle stuck in a pot of sand—a `soul candle'—and put on a silk holiday dress.”
1796: Grose's Dict. Vulgar T. (ed. 3) s.v., “`He made a hole in his *soul case,' he wounded him.”
1835: A. B. Longstreet Georgia Scenes 109 “When you come to the last half mile of each heat, run his heart, liver, lights, and soul-case out of him.”
1896: J. C. Harris Sister Jane 277 “The way that hoss flung around wi' you was enough to jolt your soul-case loose.”
1901: F. J. Gillen Diary 15 Apr. (1968) 34 “Flies were celebrating some festival all night and worried the very soul cases out of us.”
1962: R. Tullipan March into Morning 13 “Then he got the bright idea of bringin' in orphan kids and working the soulcase off them until they turn eighteen and have to be paid more money.”
1932: D. Jenness Indians of Canada 333 “Peculiar to the medicine-men of the Haida, Tlinkit, and Tsimshian was the use of a special `*soul-catcher', a bone tube, generally carved, for capturing the wandering souls of the sick and restoring them to their bodies.”
1969: Times 22 Sept. 14/2 “One invariably sees a face in the centre of a soul-catcher, a tube of hollowed bone into which the shaman [of the Tsimshian Indians] sucked the soul of a sick man—to keep it safe from harm while the illness lasted.”
1976: Times 10 Nov. 18/4 “A nine-inch bone soul catcher of the Tsimshian tribe reached £12,000... A soul-catcher is a tube within which a medicine man would catch the imp that caused a sickness.”
1550: Bale Eng. Votaries ii. Civg, “In a winter night a *soule chaplaine of the court laye with her.”
1598: Sylvester Du Bartas ii. ii. ii. Babylon 560 “The *soule-charm Image of sweet Eloquence.”
1964: N.Y. Times Mag. 23 Aug. 62/3 “*Soul City, Harlem.”
1971: B. Malamud Tenants 89 “Lesser descended..into Soul City by himself.”
1977: M. Herr Dispatches (1978) 196 “Danang was Soul City for many of us, it had showers and drinks.”
1785: Grose Dict. Vulgar Tongue, “*Soul doctor, or driver, a parson.”
1962: D. Lessing Golden Notebook i. 202 “Anna Wulf is sitting on a chair in front of a soul-doctor.”
1699: B. E. New Dict. Canting Crew, “*Soul-driver, a Parson.”
1774: in Amer. Hist. Rev. (1900) VI. 77 “Among them there was two Soul drivers. They are men who..drive them [sc. servants and convicts] through the Country..untill they can sell them to advantage.”
1818: Massachusetts Spy 4 Nov. (Th.), “Two men, in the character of soul drivers, lodged in the jail for safe keeping, five negros.”
1846: Swell's Night Guide 132/2 “Soul driver, a methodist parson.”
1973: A. Dundes Mother Wit 230 “Individuals who speculated in the purchase and sale of slaves were called `Negro-drivers' or `soul-drivers'.”
c1200: Trin. Coll. Hom. 27 “Godes word þat is þe *sowle fode.”
c1275: Serving Christ 41 in O.E. Misc. 91 “We wyþ sunnes geteþ saulene fode.”
a1340: Hampole Psalter cvi. 10 “In nede of saule fode.”
1920: W. R. Lethaby in London Mercury Mar. 575 “The history that can be seen and touched is a strong and stimulating soul-food, entirely different from vague and wearying written history.”
1964: N.Y. Times Mag. 23 Aug. 62/3 “Soul food, chitterlings, collard greens, ham hocks, grits, black-eyed peas and rice, and the like.”
1969: L. Sanders Anderson Tapes (1970) xxviii. 71 “This soul food crap—knuckles and hocks and greens.”
1972: Times 15 Nov. 10/5 “Soul food. Professional chef with knowledge of American Southern food..wanted for a new restaurant..in Chelsea.”
1978: Broadcast's Programme Edinburgh TV Festival 8/3 “The social centre of the series is a soul-food grocery owned by a West Indian entrepreneur.”
1969: It 4-17 July 10/4 “With *soul force we'll look to the needs of our brother In a world that's our universal home.”
1977: Arab Times 14 Dec. 2/5 “`The voice of women..is a special soul-force in the struggle for a non-violent world,' the 36-year-old pacificist leader from strife-torn Northern Ireland declared.”
1891: The Month LXXIII. 221 “He was the Generalissimo's..`*soul-friend', as a confessor is called in Irish [= Ir. anam-chara].”
1896: Westm. Gaz. 5 Mar. 3/2 “An old priest..tried..to play the `soul-friend' to the bandit.”
1929: I. M. Clark Church Discipline in Scotland i. 29 “Columba had a method of entrusting those who had sinned to the spiritual care of individual monks of his community, who were termed soul-friends and whose duty it was to restore the souls of those penitents.”
1979: Church Times 11 May 2/3 “A special sort of job is being offered to spiritually gifted women in the diocese of Truro. The Bishop..wants them to train to be `soul friends'—so that they may give spiritual guidance and direction with his formal backing and recognition.”
1907: Petrie Gizeh & Rifeh vi. 14/2 “The depth of grave below the *soul-house is inversely as the height of soil above it.”
1953: H. Waugh Last seen Wearing 55 “She calls him exciting and lets him *soul-kiss her.”
1960: Wentworth & Flexner Dict. Amer. Slang 504/1 “Soul kiss, a long passionate open-mouthed kiss, during which a lover's tongue licks, caresses, or explores the tongue and mouth of the beloved.”
1970: R. Davies Fifth Business ii. 130 “Some of them were experts in what were then called French kisses or soul kisses, which the irreverent called `swapping spits'.”
1973: E. Jong Fear of Flying 82, “I had the distinct sensation of kissing my own mouth—like when I was nine and used to wet a piece of my pillow with saliva and then kiss it to try to imagine what `soul-kissing' was like.”
1900: W. James Let. 20 July (1920) II. 133, “I..sit thinking of letters, and of the *soul-music with which they might be filled if my tongue could only utter the thoughts that arise in me to youward.”
1961: Commonweal 24 Mar. 658 “It's called `soul music' because its practitioners have incorporated some of the backbeat, rhythms, and exclamatory melodic lines of Negro gospel music.”
1968: P. Oliver Screening Blues 9 “Soul music, which exploits the intensity of expression of religious song, the form and instrumental character of the blues and the maudlin sentiments of pop music.”
1974: Black World Mar. 57/2 “Soul music belched from windows where Black women wearing tired faces gazed impassively down at the hopeless street.”
1980: Oxford Times 8 Feb. 15/1 “They get really close to the style and spirit of American soul music.”
1870: Toulmin Smith Eng. Gilds 181 “That *soul-pence will be paid by the bretheren.”
Ibid., “For collecting the *soul-pennies from the bretheren.”
1484: Caxton Fables of Poge xii, “Are ye here a *sowle preest or a paryssh preste?”
1577: Fulke Confut. Purg. 172 “The dead arose.., threatning him, that he should dye for it, if he did not restore them their soulepriest.”
1606: Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 646/2 “Advocationem..capellaniarum vulgo lie Saull-preistis..infra ecclesiam collegiatam de Dumbar.”
1355-6: Abingdon Rolls (Camden) 5 “De *soule-seluer vjs. viijd.”
1967: Wentworth & Flexner Dict. Amer. Slang Suppl. 705/1 “*Soul sister, a female Negro. Negro use only.”
1968: N.Y. Times 17 June 24 “Plate glass in Negro-owned establishments remained intact and displayed the words, `Soul Brother' or `Soul Sister'.”
1976: Drum (E. Afr. ed.) June 10/3 “African girls have always plaited their hair, and it was the soul sisters in America who were copying the girls in Africa.”
1645: E. Pagitt Heresiogr. (ed. 2) 139 “*Soule-Sleepers. That the soule dyeth with the body is an old and despicable Heresie.”
1727: De Foe Hist. Appar. v. (1840) 45, “I am none of the sect of soul sleepers.”
1860: Southern Enterprise (Thomasville, Georgia) 13 June 2/5 “Soul Sleepers is the name of a new religious sect which has recently made its appearance at Fairfield, Iowa... They..think that the soul is a mortal substance, and sleeps within the body until resurrection.”
1887: J. Kirkland Zury 65 “He and Peddicomb had both been connected with the little sect of Christians called `Soul-sleepers'.”
1889: Cent. Dict., “*Soul-stuff.., the hypothetical substance of the soul; psychoplasm.”
1909: W. James Mem. & Stud. (1911) viii. 202 “If there were in the universe a lot of diffuse soul-stuff, unable of itself to get into consistent personal form..it might get its head into the air, parasitically, so to speak, by profiting by weak spots in the armour of human minds.”
1972: D. Davies Dict. Anthropol. 165/2 “Soul-stuff, mana. The spiritual power with which every male in primitive societies seeks to enhance his prowess and standing in the tribe. It can only be gained by special feats... It is also thought to be found in the hair.”
1890: W. James Princ. Psychol. I. x. 318 “But what is this abstract numerical principle of identity..? May it be the indivisible *Soul-Substance, in which, according to the orthodox tradition, my faculties inhere?”
1924: W. B. Selbie Psychol. Relig. ii. 28 “Anthropologists are..fairly generally agreed that underlying all religions is what they call animism, or belief in a soul substance discoverable not merely in men but in things.”
1972: H. J. Eysenck Encycl. Psychol. II. 57/2 “Heraclitus..considered fire as the primary force and `soul-substance' because it moved and transformed matter.”
soul, n.
 Hence ˈsoulhood, ˈsoulship, the condition or state of being a soul; soulful quality.
1882: H. C. Merivale Faucit of B. II. i. xix. 40 “Many of these leaden caskets may carry yet, locked within them, some rough gem of Christian soulhood.”
1893: Advance (Chicago) 15 June, “Of the modification of the sinless perfection of Christ, of his ethical soulship.”
1933: S. Sassoon Traveller to his Soul in Satirical Poems (ed. 2) 68 “The problem which concerns me most..Is, bluntly stated, `Have I got a soul?' And, soulhood granted, while millenniums roll, Will it inhabit some congenial clime..Anonymous in what we name `the Whole'?”
1940: C. S. Lewis Problem of Pain ix. 129 “Supposing, as I do, that the personality of the tame animals is largely the gift of man—that their mere sentience is reborn to soulhood in us as our mere soulhood is reborn to spirituality in Christ—I naturally suppose that very few animals indeed, in their wild state, attain to a `self' or ego.”
 obs. f. sole n. 1 and a., sowel (stake); variant of sowl n.
soul, v.
 (səʊl)Also 5, 9 dial. sowl.[f. the n. Cf. OE. sáwlian (= ON. and Icel. sálask, MSw. siälas) to die, whence souling vbl. n. 1.]
soul, v.
 1. trans.
soul, v.
 a. To endow or endue with a soul. Also fig. Obs. rare.
c1386: Chaucer Sec. Nun's T. 329 “The goost that fro the fader gan procede Hath sowled hem with outen any drede.”
1646: N. Lockyer Serm. 4 “All that was said is resum'd and souled, as I may say.”
soul, v.
 b. To inspire or animate. rare —1.
1891: C. Dawson Avonmore 50 “Joy souled the day, and love was seen In winter's storms.”
soul, v.
 2. intr. To go about collecting doles, properly on the eve of All Souls' Day. Chiefly in the phr. to go (a-)souling.
a1779: Tollet in Brand's Pop. Antiq. (1813) I. 309 “On All Saints Day, the poor people..go from parish to parish a Souling, as they call it.”
1820: Wilbraham Cheshire Gloss. App. s.v., “To go a souling, is to go about as boys do, repeating certain rigmarole verses, and begging cakes or money, in commutation for them, the Eve of All Souls' Day.”
1883: C. S. Burne Shrops. Folk-lore 381 “Up to the present time in many places, poor children, and sometimes men, go out `souling'.”
soul, v.
 3. To capture or catch souls. rare —1.
1825: J. Wilson Noct. Ambr. (1855) I. 3 “Fiends ride forth a-souling For the dogs of havoc are yelping and yowling.”
 obs. or dial. form of sowl v.
From English Wikipedia
For the capital of South Korea, see Seoul. For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation).
Image of the soul in the Rosarium philosophorum.

The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythologicaltraditions, is theincorporeal essence of a living being.[1] Soul orpsyche (Ancient Greek: ψυχή psykhḗ, of ψύχεινpsýkhein, "to breathe") comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal.[2]

Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, understood that the soul (ψυχή psūchê) must have a logical faculty, the exercise of which was the most divine of human actions. At his defense trial, Socrates even summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence (Apology30a–b).

In Judaism and in Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls (although immortality is disputed within Judaism and the concept of immortality may have been influenced by Plato).[3] For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal.[4] Other religions (most notably Hinduism and Jainism) hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves (Atman, jiva) and have their physical representative (the body) in the world. The actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger then there is a self-conscious identity residing in it (the soul), and a physical representative (the whole body of the tiger, which is observable) in the world. Some teach that even non-biological entities (such as rivers and mountains) possess souls. This belief is calledanimism.[5]



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The Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50 . It is cognate with other German andBaltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla,Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Deeper etymology of theGermanic word is unclear.

The original concept behind the Germanic root is thought to mean “coming from or belonging to the sea (or lake)”, because of the Germanic and pre-Celtic belief in souls emerging from and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola (soul) compared to Old Saxon sêo(sea).


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See also: Spirit

The Koine Greek Septuagint uses ψυχή (psyche) to translate Hebrewנפש (nephesh), meaning "life, vital breath", and specifically refers to a mortal, physical life, but in English it is variously translated as "soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire,emotion, passion";[citation needed] an example can be found in Genesis 1:21:

Hebrew – וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-הַתַּנִּינִם הַגְּדֹלִים; וְאֵת כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה הָרֹמֶשֶׂת[citation needed] Septuagint – καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὰ κήτη τὰ μεγάλα καὶ πᾶσαν ψυχὴν ζῴων ἑρπετῶν. Vulgate  Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem. Authorized King James Version – "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth."

The Koine Greek word ψυχή (psychē), "life, spirit, consciousness", is derived from a verb meaning "to cool, to blow", and hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα (soma), meaning "body".[citation needed] Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα, as seen inMatthew 10:28:

Greek – καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. Vulgate – et nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus animam autem non-possunt occidere sed potius eum timete qui potest et animam et corpus perdere in gehennam. Authorized King James Version (KJV) – "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Paul the Apostle used ψυχή (psychē) and πνεῦμα (pneuma) specifically to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש(nephesh) and רוח ruah (spirit)[citation needed] (also in the Septuagint, e.g. Genesis 1:2 רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים = πνεῦμα θεοῦ = spiritus Dei = "the Spirit of God").

Religious views[edit]

Ancient Near East[edit]

The souls of Pe and Nekhen towing the royal bargue on a relief of Ramesses II's temple in Abydos.

In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian religion. Kuttamuwa, an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, ordered an inscribedstele erected upon his death. The inscription requested that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlifewith feasts "for my soul that is in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body. The 800-pound (360 kg) basalt stele is 3 ft (0.91 m) tall and 2 ft (0.61 m) wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois.[6]


The Bahá'í Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel".[7]Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal.[8] Heaven can be seen partly as the soul's state of nearness to God; and hell as a state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually.[9] Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world.[9]


Buddhism teaches the principle of impermanence, that all things are in a constant state of flux: all is changing, and no permanent state exists by itself.[10][11] This applies to human beings as much as to anything else in the cosmos. Thus, a human being has no permanent self.[12][13] According to this doctrine of anatta (Pāli; Sanskrit:anātman) – "no-self" or "no soul" – the words "I" or "me" do not refer to any fixed thing. They are simply convenient terms that allow us to refer to an ever-changing entity.[14]

The anatta doctrine is not a kind of materialism. Buddhism does not deny the existence of "immaterial" entities, and it (at least traditionally) distinguishes bodily states from mental states.[15] Thus, the conventional translation of anatta as "no-soul"[16] can be confusing. If the word "soul" simply refers to an incorporeal component in living things that can continue after death, then Buddhism does not deny the existence of the soul.[17] Instead, Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent entity that remains constant behind the changing corporeal and incorporeal components of a living being. Just as the body changes from moment to moment, so thoughts come and go, and there is no permanent state underlying the mind that experiences these thoughts, as in Cartesianism. Conscious mental states simply arise and perish with no "thinker" behind them.[18] When the body dies, Buddhists believe the incorporeal mental processes continue and are reborn in a new body.[17] Because the mental processes are constantly changing, the being that is reborn is neither entirely different from, nor exactly the same as, the being that died.[19] However, the new being iscontinuous with the being that died – in the same way that the "you" of this moment is continuous with the "you" of a moment before, despite the fact that you are constantly changing.[20]

Buddhist teaching holds that a notion of a permanent, abiding self is a delusion that is one of the causes of human conflict on the emotional, social, and political levels.[21][22] They add that an understanding ofanatta provides an accurate description of the human condition, and that this understanding allows us to pacify our mundane desires.

Various schools of Buddhism have differing ideas about what continues after death.[23] The Yogacara school in MahayanaBuddhism said there are Store consciousness which continue to exist after death.[24] In some schools, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, the view is that there are three minds: very subtle mind, which does not disintegrate in death; subtle mind, which disintegrates in death and which is "dreaming mind" or "unconscious mind"; and gross mind, which does not exist when one is sleeping. Therefore, gross mind is less permanent than subtle mind, which does not exist in death. Very subtle mind, however, does continue, and when it "catches on", or coincides with phenomena, again, a new subtle mind emerges, with its own personality/assumptions/habits, and that entity experienceskarma in the current continuum.

Plants were said to be non-sentient (無情),[25] but Buddhist monks are required to not cut or burn trees, because some sentient beings rely on them.[26] Some Mahayana monks said non-sentient beings such as plants and stones have Buddha-nature.[27][28]

Certain modern Buddhists, particularly in Western countries, reject—or at least take an agnostic stance toward—the concept of rebirth or reincarnation. Stephen Batchelor discusses this in his book Buddhism Without Beliefs. Others point to research that has been conducted at the University of Virginia as proof that some people are reborn.[29]


Soul carried to Heaven by William Bouguereau

According to a commonChristian eschatology, when people die, their souls will be judged by God and determined to go to Heaven or to Hadesawaiting the resurrection. Other Christians understand the soul as the life, and believe that the dead have no life untilafter the resurrection (Christian conditionalism). Some Christians believe that the souls and bodies of the unrighteous will be destroyed in hell rather than suffering eternally (annihilationism). Believers will inherit eternal life either in Heaven, or in a Kingdom of God on earth, and enjoy eternal fellowship with God.

Although all major branches of Christianity – Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Evangelical, andmainline Protestants – teach that Jesus Christ plays a decisive role in the Christian salvation process, the specifics of that role and the part played by individual persons or by ecclesiastical rituals and relationships, is a matter of wide diversity in official church teaching, theological speculation and popular practice. Some[which?] Christians believe that if one has not repented of one's sins and has not trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, one will go to Hell and suffer eternal damnation or eternal separation from God. Some[who?] hold a belief that babies (including the unborn) and those with cognitive or mental impairments who have died will be received into Heaven on the basis of God's grace through the sacrifice of Jesus.[30][need quotation to verify]

There are also beliefs in universal salvation.

Origin of the soul[edit]

The Damned Soul. Drawing byMichelangelo Buonarroti c. 1525

The "origin of the soul" has provided a vexing question in Christianity. The major theories put forward include soul creationism,traducianism, and pre-existence. According to soul creationism, God creates each individual soul created directly, either at the moment of conception or some later time. According to traducianism, the soul comes from the parents by natural generation. According to the preexistence theory, the soul exists before the moment of conception. There have been differing thoughts regarding whether human embryos have souls from conception, or whether there is a point between conception and birth where the fetus acquires a soul, consciousness, and/or personhood. Stances in this question might play a role in judgements on themorality of abortion.[31][32][33]

Trichotomy of the soul[edit]

Augustine (354-430), one of western Christianity's most influential early Christian thinkers, described the soul as "a special substance, endowed with reason, adapted to rule the body". Some Christians espouse a trichotomic view of humans, which characterizes humans as consisting of a body (soma), soul (psyche), and spirit (pneuma).[34] However, the majority of modern Bible scholars point out how the concepts of "spirit" and of "soul" are used interchangeably in many biblical passages, and so hold to dichotomy: the view that each human comprises a body and a soul. Paul said that the "body wars against" the soul, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit" (Heb 4:12 NASB), and that "I buffet my body", to keep it under control.

Views of various denominations[edit]

The present Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the soul as "the innermost aspect of humans, that which is of greatest value in them, that by which they are in God's image described as 'soul' signifies thespiritual principle in man".[35] All souls living and dead will be judged by Jesus Christ when he comes back to earth. The Catholic Church teaches that the existence of each individual soul is dependent wholly upon God: "The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God."[36]

Depiction of the soul on a 17th-century tombstone at the cemetery of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow

Protestants generally believe in the soul's existence, but fall into two major camps about what this means in terms of anafterlife. Some, followingCalvin,[37] believe in theimmortality of the soul and conscious existence after death, while others, following Luther,[38]believe in the mortality of the soul and unconscious "sleep" until the resurrection of the dead.[39] Various new religious movements deriving fromAdventism—including Christadelphians,[40] Seventh-day Adventists[citation needed] and Jehovah's Witnesses[41][42]—similarly believe that the dead do not possess a soul separate from the body and are unconscious until the resurrection.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the spirit and body together constitute the Soul of Man (Mankind). "The spirit and the body are the soul of man."[43] Latter-day Saints believe that the soul is the union of a pre-existing, God-made spirit[44][45][46] and a temporal body, which is formed by physical conception on earth. After death, the spirit continues to live and progress in the Spirit world until the resurrection, when it is reunited with the body that once housed it. This reuniting of body and spirit results in a perfect soul that is immortal and eternal and capable of receiving a fulness of joy.[47][48] Latter-day Saint cosmology also describes "intelligences" as the essence of consciousness or agency. These are co-eternal with God, and animate the spirits.[49] The union of a newly-created spirit body with an eternally-existing intelligence constitutes a "spirit birth"[citation needed] and justifies God's title "Father of our spirits".[50][51][52]


Some Confucian traditions contrast a spiritual soul with a corporeal soul.[53]


Main articles: Ātman (Hinduism) and Jiva
Hindu last rites for departed souls

Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means inner self or soul.[54][55][56] In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school ofHinduism, Ātman is thefirst principle,[57] the trueself of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation (moksha), a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana), which is to realize that one's true self (Ātman) is identical with the transcendent selfBrahman.[55][58]

The six orthodox schools of Hinduism believe that there is Ātman (self, essence) in every being.[59]

In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva (Sanskrit: जीव, jīva, alternative spellingjiwa; Hindi: जीव, jīv, alternative spelling jeev) is a living being, or any entity imbued with a life force.[60]

In Jainism, jiva is the immortal essence or soul of a living organism (human, animal, fish or plant etc.) which survives physical death.[61]The concept of Ajiva in Jainism means "not soul", and represents matter (including body), time, space, non-motion and motion.[61] In Jainism, a Jiva is either samsari (mundane, caught in cycle of rebirths) or mukta (liberated).[62][63]

The concept of jiva in Jainism is similar to atman in Hinduism. However, some Hindu traditions differentiate between the two concepts, with jiva considered as individual self, while atman as that which is universal unchanging self that is present in all living beings and everything else as the metaphysical Brahman.[64][65][66] The latter is sometimes referred to as jiva-atman (a soul in a living body).[64] According to Brahma Kumaris, the soul is an eternal point of light.


Main articles: Rūḥ and Nafs

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, distinguishes between the immortal Rūḥ (translated as spirit, consciousness, pneuma or "soul") and the mortal Nafs (translated as self, ego, psyche or "soul").[67][68]The immortal Rūḥ "drives" the mortal Nafs, which comprises temporal desires and perceptions necessary for living.[69] One of the passages in the Quran that mention Rûh occur in chapter 17 ("The Night Journey"),and in Chapter 39 ("The Troops"):

And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the Rûh. Say, "The Rûh is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little.

— Quran 17:85

Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought..

— Qur'an 39:42


Main articles: Jīva (Jainism) and Vitalism (Jainism)
Further information: Jain philosophy and Jainism and non-creationism

In Jainism, every living being, from plant or bacterium to human, has a soul and the concept forms the very basis of Jainism. According to Jainism, there is no beginning or end to the existence of soul. It is eternal in nature and changes its form until it attains liberation.

The soul (Jīva) is basically categorized in one of two ways based on its present state.[citation needed]

  1. Liberated Souls – These are souls which have attained liberation (moksha) and never become part of the life cycle again.
  2. Non-Liberated Souls – The souls of any living being which are stuck in the life cycle of 4 forms; Manushya Gati (Human Being), Tiryanch Gati (Any other living being), Dev Gati(Heaven) and Narak Gati (Hell).

Until the time the soul is liberated from the saṃsāra (cycle of repeated birth and death), it gets attached to one of these bodies based on the karma (actions) of the individual soul. Irrespective of which state the soul is in, it has got the same attributes and qualities. The difference between the liberated and non-liberated souls is that the qualities and attributes are manifested completely in case ofsiddha (liberated soul) as they have overcome all the karmic bondages whereas in case of non-liberated souls they are partially exhibited. Souls who rise victorious over wicked emotions while still remaining within physical bodies are referred to as arihants.[70]

Concerning the Jain view of the soul, Virchand Gandhi said

the soul lives its own life, not for the purpose of the body, but the body lives for the purpose of the soul. If we believe that the soul is to be controlled by the body then soul misses its power.[71]


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The Hebrew terms נפש nefesh (literally "living being"), רוח ruach(literally "wind"), נשמה neshamah (literally "breath"), חיה chayah(literally "life") and יחידה yechidah (literally "singularity") are used to describe the soul or spirit.[72]

In Judaism the soul was believed to be given by God to Adam as mentioned in Genesis,

Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Judaism relates the quality of one's soul to one's performance of the commandments (mitzvot) and reaching higher levels of understanding, and thus closeness to God. A person with such closeness is called a tzadik. Therefore, Judaism embraces the commemoration of the day of one's death, nahala/Yahrtzeit and not the birthday[73] as a festivity of remembrance, for only toward the end of life's struggles, tests and challenges could human souls be judged and credited for righteousness.[74][75] Judaism places great importance on the study of the souls.[76]

Kabbalah and other mystic traditions go into greater detail into the nature of the soul. Kabbalah separates the soul into five elements, corresponding to the five worlds:

  1. Nefesh, related to natural instinct.
  2. Ruach, related to emotion and morality.
  3. Neshamah, related to intellect and the awareness of God.
  4. Chayah, considered a part of God, as it were.
  5. Yechidah. This aspect is essentially one with God.

Kabbalah also proposed a concept of reincarnation, the gilgul. (See also nefesh habehamit the "animal soul".)


The Scientology view is that a person does not have a soul, it is a soul. A person is immortal, and may be reincarnated if they wish. The Scientology term for the soul is "thetan", derived from the Greek word "theta", symbolizing thought. Scientology counselling (called auditing) addresses the soul to improve abilities, both worldly and spiritual.


The belief in soul dualism found throughout most Austronesianshamanistic traditions. The reconstructed Proto-Austronesian word for the "body soul" is *nawa ("breath", "life", or "vital spirit"). It is located somewhere in the abdominal cavity, often in the liver or the heart(Proto-Austronesian *qaCay).[77][78] The "free soul" is located in the head. Its names are usually derived from Proto-Austronesian *qaNiCu("ghost", "spirit [of the dead]"), which also apply to other non-human nature spirits. The "free soul" is also referred to in names that literally mean "twin" or "double", from Proto-Austronesian *duSa("two").[79][80] A virtuous person is said to be one whose souls are in harmony with each other, while an evil person is one whose souls are in conflict.[81]

The "free soul" is said to leave the body and journey to the spirit world during sleep, trance-like states, delirium, insanity, and death. The duality is also seen in the healing traditions of Austronesian shamans, where illnesses are regarded as a "soul loss" and thus to heal the sick, one must "return" the "free soul" (which may have been stolen by an evil spirit or got lost in the spirit world) into the body. If the "free soul" can not be returned, the afflicted person dies or goes permanently insane.[82]

In some ethnic groups, there can also be more than two souls. Like among the Tagbanwa people, where a person is said to have six souls - the "free soul" (which is regarded as the "true" soul) and five secondary souls with various functions.[77]

Kalbo Inuit groups believe that a person has more than one type of soul. One is associated with respiration, the other can accompany the body as a shadow.[83] In some cases, it is connected to shamanistic beliefs among the various Inuit groups.[84] Also Caribou Inuit groups believed in several types of souls.[85]

The shaman heals within the spiritual dimension by returning 'lost' parts of the human soul from wherever they have gone. The shaman also cleanses excess negative energies, which confuse or pollute the soul.


Sikhism considers soul (atma) to be part of God (Waheguru). Various hymns are cited from the holy book Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) that suggests this belief. "God is in the Soul and the Soul is in the God."[86]The same concept is repeated at various pages of the SGGS. For example: "The soul is divine; divine is the soul. Worship Him with love."[87] and "The soul is the Lord, and the Lord is the soul; contemplating the Shabad, the Lord is found."[88]

The atma or soul according to Sikhism is an entity or "spiritual spark" or "light" in our body because of which the body can sustain life. On the departure of this entity from the body, the body becomes lifeless – No amount of manipulations to the body can make the person make any physical actions. The soul is the 'driver' in the body. It is theroohu or spirit or atma, the presence of which makes the physical body alive.

Many religious and philosophical traditions support the view that the soul is the ethereal substance – a spirit; a non-material spark – particular to a unique living being. Such traditions often consider the soul both immortal and innately aware of its immortal nature, as well as the true basis for sentience in each living being. The concept of the soul has strong links with notions of an afterlife, but opinions may vary wildly even within a given religion as to what happens to the soul after death. Many within these religions and philosophies see the soul as immaterial, while others consider it possibly material.


According to Chinese traditions, every person has two types of soul called hun and po (魂 and 魄), which are respectively yang and yin.Taoism believes in ten souls, sanhunqipo (三魂七魄) "three hun and seven po".[89] A living being that loses any of them is said to have mental illness or unconsciousness, while a dead soul may reincarnateto a disability, lower desire realms, or may even be unable to reincarnate.


Main article: Zoroastrianism

Other religious beliefs and views[edit]

Charon (Greek) who guides dead souls to the Underworld. 4th century BCE.

In theological reference to the soul, the terms "life" and "death" are viewed as emphatically more definitive than the common concepts of "biological life" and "biological death". Because the soul is said to be transcendent of thematerial existence, and is said to have (potentially)eternal life, the death of the soul is likewise said to be an eternal death. Thus, in the concept of divine judgment, God is commonly said to have options with regard to the dispensation of souls, ranging from Heaven(i.e., angels) to hell (i.e., demons), with various concepts in between. Typically both Heaven and hell are said to be eternal, or at least far beyond a typical human concept of lifespan and time.

According to Louis Ginzberg, the soul of Adam is the image of God.[90]Every soul of human also escapes from the body every night, rises up to heaven, and fetches new life thence for the body of man.[91]

Spirituality, New Age, and new religions[edit]

Dada Bhagwan[edit]

In Dada Bhagwan, The Soul is an independent eternal element. The Soul is permanent. In order to experience the Soul you need to attainSelf-Realization.[92]

Brahma Kumaris[edit]

In Brahma Kumaris, human souls are believed to be incorporeal andeternal. God is considered to be the Supreme Soul, with maximum degrees of spiritual qualities, such as peace, love and purity.[93]


In Helena Blavatsky's Theosophy, the soul is the field of our psychological activity (thinking, emotions, memory, desires, will, and so on) as well as of the so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena (extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, etc.). However, the soul is not the highest, but a middle dimension of human beings. Higher than the soul is the spirit, which is considered to be the real self; the source of everything we call "good"—happiness, wisdom, love, compassion, harmony, peace, etc. While the spirit is eternal and incorruptible, the soul is not. The soul acts as a link between the material body and the spiritual self, and therefore shares some characteristics of both. The soul can be attracted either towards the spiritual or towards the material realm, being thus the "battlefield" of good and evil. It is only when the soul is attracted towards the spiritual and merges with the Self that it becomes eternal and divine.


Rudolf Steiner claimed classical trichotomic stages of soul development, which interpenetrated one another in consciousness:[94]

  • The "sentient soul", centering on sensations, drives, and passions, with strong conative (will) and emotional components;
  • The "intellectual" or "mind soul", internalizing and reflecting on outer experience, with strong affective (feeling) and cognitive (thinking) components; and
  • The "consciousness soul", in search of universal, objective truths.


In Surat Shabda Yoga, the soul is considered to be an exact replica and spark of the Divine. The purpose of Surat Shabd Yoga is to realize one's True Self as soul (Self-Realisation), True Essence (Spirit-Realisation) and True Divinity (God-Realisation) while living in the physical body.

Similarly, the spiritual teacher Meher Baba held that "Atma, or the soul, is in reality identical with Paramatma the Oversoul – which is one, infinite, and eternal...[and] [t]he sole purpose of creation is for the soul to enjoy the infinite state of the Oversoul consciously."[95]

Eckankar, founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965, defines Soul as the true self; the inner, most sacred part of each person.[96]

Philosophical views[edit]

The ancient Greeks used the word "ensouled" to represent the concept of being "alive", indicating that the earliest surviving western philosophical view believed that the soul was that which gave the body life.[97] The soul was considered the incorporeal or spiritual "breath" that animates (from the Latin, anima, cf. "animal") the living organism.

Francis M. Cornford quotes Pindar by saying that the soul sleeps while the limbs are active, but when one is sleeping, the soul is active and reveals "an award of joy or sorrow drawing near" in dreams.[98]

Erwin Rohde writes that an early pre-Pythagorean belief presented the soul as lifeless when it departed the body, and that it retired intoHades with no hope of returning to a body.[99]

Socrates and Plato[edit]

Plato (left) and Aristotle(right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael.

Drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, Plato considered the psyche to be the essence of a person, being that which decides how we behave. He considered this essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. Plato said that even after death, the soul exists and is able to think. He believed that as bodies die, the soul is continually reborn (metempsychosis) in subsequent bodies. However, Aristotle believed that only one part of the soul was immortal namely the intellect (logos). The Platonic soul consists of three parts:[100]

  1. the logos, or logistikon (mind, nous, or reason)
  2. the thymos, or thumetikon (emotion, spiritedness, or masculine)
  3. the eros, or epithumetikon (appetitive, desire, or feminine)

The parts are located in different regions of the body:

  1. logos is located in the head, is related to reason and regulates the other part.
  2. thymos is located near the chest region and is related to anger.
  3. eros is located in the stomach and is related to one's desires.

Plato also compares the three parts of the soul or psyche to a societalcaste system. According to Plato's theory, the three-part soul is essentially the same thing as a state's class system because, to function well, each part must contribute so that the whole functions well. Logos keeps the other functions of the soul regulated.


The structure of the souls of plants, animals, and humans, according to Aristotle, with Bios, Zoê, and Psūchê
Further information: Aristotle's biology

Aristotle (384–322 BCE) defined the soul, or Psūchê (ψυχή), as the "first actuality" of a naturally organized body,[101] and argued against its separate existence from the physical body. In Aristotle's view, the primary activity, or full actualization, of a living thing constitutes its soul. For example, the full actualization of an eye, as an independent organism, is to see (its purpose or final cause).[102] Another example is that the full actualization of a human being would be living a fully functional human life in accordance with reason (which he considered to be a faculty unique to humanity).[103] For Aristotle, the soul is the organization of the form and matter of a natural being which allows it to strive for its full actualization. This organization between form and matter is necessary for any activity, or functionality, to be possible in a natural being. Using an artifact (non-natural being) as an example, a house is a building for human habituation, but for a house to be actualized requires the material (wood, nails, bricks, etc.) necessary for its actuality (i.e. being a fully functional house). However, this does not imply that a house has a soul. In regards to artifacts, the source of motion that is required for their full actualization is outside of themselves (for example, a builder builds a house). In natural beings, this source of motion is contained within the being itself.[104]Aristotle elaborates on this point when he addresses the faculties of the soul.

The various faculties of the soul, such as nutrition, movement (peculiar to animals), reason (peculiar to humans), sensation (special, common, and incidental) and so forth, when exercised, constitute the "second" actuality, or fulfillment, of the capacity to be alive. For example, someone who falls asleep, as opposed to someone who falls dead, can wake up and live their life, while the latter can no longer do so.

Aristotle identified three hierarchical levels of natural beings: plants, animals, and people, having three different degrees of soul: Bios(life), Zoë (animate life), and Psuchë (self-conscious life). For these groups, he identified three corresponding levels of soul, or biological activity: the nutritive activity of growth, sustenance and reproduction which all life shares (Bios); the self-willed motive activity and sensory faculties, which only animals and people have in common (Zoë); and finally "reason", of which people alone are capable (Pseuchë).

Aristotle's discussion of the soul is in his work, De Anima (On the Soul). Although mostly seen as opposing Plato in regard to the immortality of the soul, a controversy can be found in relation to the fifth chapter of the third book: In this text both interpretations can be argued for, soul as a whole can be deemed mortal, and a part called "active intellect" or "active mind" is immortal and eternal.[105]Advocates exist for both sides of the controversy, but it has been understood that there will be permanent disagreement about its final conclusions, as no other Aristotelian text contains this specific point, and this part of De Anima is obscure.[106] Further, Aristotle states that the soul helps humans find the truth and understanding the true purpose or role of the soul is extremely difficult.[107]

Avicenna and Ibn al-Nafis[edit]

Following Aristotle, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Ibn al-Nafis, an Arab physician, further elaborated upon the Aristotelian understanding of the soul and developed their own theories on the soul. They both made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, and the Avicenniandoctrine on the nature of the soul was influential among theScholastics. Some of Avicenna's views on the soul include the idea that the immortality of the soul is a consequence of its nature, and not a purpose for it to fulfill. In his theory of "The Ten Intellects", he viewed the human soul as the tenth and final intellect.[108][109]

While he was imprisoned, Avicenna wrote his famous "Floating Man"thought experiment to demonstrate human self-awareness and the substantial nature of the soul.[110] He told his readers to imagine themselves suspended in the air, isolated from all sensations, which includes no sensory contact with even their own bodies. He argues that in this scenario one would still have self-consciousness. He thus concludes that the idea of the self is not logically dependent on any physical thing, and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms, but as a primary given, a substance. This argument was later refined and simplified by René Descartes in epistemic terms, when he stated: "I can abstract from the supposition of all external things, but not from the supposition of my own consciousness."[111]

Avicenna generally supported Aristotle's idea of the soul originating from the heart, whereas Ibn al-Nafis rejected this idea and instead argued that the soul "is related to the entirety and not to one or a feworgans". He further criticized Aristotle's idea whereby every unique soul requires the existence of a unique source, in this case the heart. al-Nafis concluded that "the soul is related primarily neither to the spirit nor to any organ, but rather to the entire matter whose temperament is prepared to receive that soul," and he defined the soul as nothing other than "what a human indicates by saying "I".[112]

Thomas Aquinas[edit]

Following Aristotle (whom he referred to as "the Philosopher") and Avicenna, Thomas Aquinas (1225–74) understood the soul to be the first actuality of the living body. Consequent to this, he distinguished three orders of life: plants, which feed and grow; animals, which add sensation to the operations of plants; and humans, which add intellect to the operations of animals.

Concerning the human soul, his epistemological theory required that, since the knower becomes what he knows, the soul is definitely not corporeal—if it is corporeal when it knows what some corporeal thing is, that thing would come to be within it.[113] Therefore, the soul has an operation which does not rely on a body organ, and therefore the soul can exist without a body. Furthermore, since the rational soul of human beings is a subsistent form and not something made of matter and form, it cannot be destroyed in any natural process.[114] The full argument for the immortality of the soul and Aquinas' elaboration of Aristotelian theory is found in Question 75 of the First Part of theSumma Theologica.

Immanuel Kant[edit]

In his discussions of rational psychology, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) identified the soul as the "I" in the strictest sense, and argued that the existence of inner experience can neither be proved nor disproved.

We cannot prove a priori the immateriality of the soul, but rather only so much: that all properties and actions of the soul cannot be recognized from materiality.

It is from the "I", or soul, that Kant proposes transcendental rationalization, but cautions that such rationalization can only determine the limits of knowledge if it is to remain practical.[115]

Philosophy of mind[edit]

Main article: Philosophy of mind

Gilbert Ryle's ghost in the machine argument, which is a rejection of Descartes' mind–body dualism, can provide a contemporary understanding of the soul/mind, and the problem concerning its connection to the brain/body.[116]

James Hillman[edit]

Psychologist James Hillman's archetypal psychology is an attempt to restore the concept of the soul, which Hillman viewed as the "self-sustaining and imagining substrate" upon which consciousness rests. Hillman described the soul as that "which makes meaning possible, [deepens] events into experiences, is communicated in love, and has a religious concern", as well as "a special relation with death".[117]Departing from the Cartesian dualism "between outer tangible reality and inner states of mind", Hillman takes the Neoplatonic stance[118]that there is a "third, middle position" in which soul resides.[119]Archetypal psychology acknowledges this third position by attuning to, and often accepting, the archetypes, dreams, myths, and evenpsychopathologies through which, in Hillman's view, soul expresses itself.


Many modern scientists, such as Julien Musolino, hold that the mind is merely a complex machine that operates on the same physical laws as all other objects in the universe.[120] According to Musolino, there is currently no scientific evidence whatsoever to support the existence of the soul;[120] he claims there is also considerable evidence that seems to indicate that souls do not exist.[120]

The search for the soul, however, is seen to have been instrumental in driving the understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, particularly in the fields of cardiovascular and neurology.[121] In the two dominant conflicting concepts of the soul – one seeing it to be spiritual and immortal, and the other seeing it to be material and mortal, both have described the soul as being located in a particular organ or as pervading the whole body.[121]


Neuroscience as an interdisciplinary field, and its branch of cognitive neuroscience particularly, operates under the ontological assumption of physicalism. In other words, it assumes—in order to perform its science—that only the fundamental phenomena studied by physicsexist. Thus, neuroscience seeks to understand mental phenomena within the framework according to which human thought and behaviorare caused solely by physical processes taking place inside the brain, and it operates by the way of reductionism by seeking an explanation for the mind in terms of brain activity.[122][123]

To study the mind in terms of the brain several methods of functional neuroimaging are used to study the neuroanatomical correlates of various cognitive processes that constitute the mind. The evidence from brain imaging indicates that all processes of the mind have physical correlates in brain function.[124] However, such correlational studies cannot determine whether neural activity plays a causal role in the occurrence of these cognitive processes (correlation does not imply causation) and they cannot determine if the neural activity is either necessary or sufficient for such processes to occur. Identification of causation, and of necessary and sufficient conditions requires explicit experimental manipulation of that activity. If manipulation of brain activity changes consciousness, then a causal role for that brain activity can be inferred.[125][126] Two of the most common types of manipulation experiments are loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments. In a loss-of-function (also called "necessity") experiment, a part of the nervous system is diminished or removed in an attempt to determine if it is necessary for a certain process to occur, and in a gain-of-function (also called "sufficiency") experiment, an aspect of the nervous system is increased relative to normal.[127] Manipulations of brain activity can be performed with direct electrical brain stimulation, magnetic brain stimulation usingtranscranial magnetic stimulation, psychopharmacologicalmanipulation, optogenetic manipulation, and by studying the symptoms of brain damage (case studies) and lesions. In addition, neuroscientists are also investigating how the mind develops with the development of the brain.[128]


Physicist Sean M. Carroll has written that the idea of a soul is incompatible with quantum field theory (QFT). He writes that for a soul to exist: "Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can't be a new collection of 'spirit particles' and 'spirit forces' that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments."[129]

Some[quantify] theorists have invoked quantum indeterminism as an explanatory mechanism for possible soul/brain interaction, but neuroscientist Peter Clarke found errors with this viewpoint, noting there is no evidence that such processes play a role in brain function; Clarke concluded that a Cartesian soul has no basis from quantum physics.[130][need quotation to verify]


Some parapsychologists have attempted to establish, by scientificexperiment, whether a soul separate from the brain exists, as is more commonly defined in religion rather than as a synonym of psyche or mind. Milbourne Christopher (1979) and Mary Roach (2010) have argued that none of the attempts by parapsychologists have yet succeeded.[131][132]

Weight of the soul[edit]

In 1901 Duncan MacDougall conducted an experiment in which he made weight measurements of patients as they died. He claimed that there was weight loss of varying amounts at the time of death; he concluded the soul weighed 21 grams, based on measurements of a single patient and discarding conflicting results.[133][134] The physicistRobert L. Park has written that MacDougall's experiments "are not regarded today as having any scientific merit" and the psychologistBruce Hood wrote that "because the weight loss was not reliable or replicable, his findings were unscientific."[135][136]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "soul."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 CD. 13 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Soul (noun)". Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online edition. Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Retrieved 1 December2016.
  3. ^ "Immortality of the Soul". www.jewishencyclopedia.com.Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  4. ^ Peter Eardley and Carl Still, Aquinas: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: Continuum, 2010), pp. 34–35
  5. ^ "Soul", The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001–07. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
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