Middle English Dictionary Entry

soul(e n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

The spiritual and rational element in man, the Christian soul, understood: (a) to animate and control the body; (b) to have an eternal destiny as a moral agent; also person.; cure of soule(s, responsibility for people's spiritual welfare [see also cure n.(1) 4.(a), (b)]; hugenesse of ~, monstrousness of soul, moral depravity; in soules lire, destined to be damned; liven in ~, to be spiritually alive, be in a state of grace; (c) to be engaged in a moral struggle with the body; (d) as in contrast or combination with the body, in selected phrases: for ~ and for bodi, for lif and for ~, in ~ and bodi, in (of, to, with) bodi and ~, in) lif and ~, on) ~ and (on) lichame, etc.; (e) as analogously descriptive of the Trinity.
(a) An individual's soul; his ~ hold, true to his soul; a liere in (to his) ~, ?a self-deceiving hypocrite; ?one who breaks his vow of religion; to thin ~ ward; (b) in prayers and commendations; (c) for his (here, min, his fader, etc.) ~; for soules alesednesse (god, helthe, nede, red, sake, tharf); for hele (help, helthe, mede, sake, savacioun) of ~; in (in-to) savacioun of ~, to soules bihofþe (bihove, tharf), etc.; also iron.; ~ to hele, for the benefit of the soul; (d) for drede (peril) of ~, for fear of the loss of (one's) soul; hauht of ~, peril to ~, danger to (one's) soul; in peril of ~, in danger or on penalty of the loss of (one's) soul [see also peril n. 2.(b)]; in peril to ~, on hauht on ~, in danger of the loss of (one's) soul; perilous to ~; don ~ on plih, putten ~ in peril, to place (one's) soul in peril, endanger oneself spiritually; setten in peril of ~, place (sb.) in spiritual danger; (e) in discharge (discharging) of ~, for the release of (someone's) soul from purgatory; haven ~ in minde, minen (remembren) ~, to remember (someone's) soul in prayer, etc.; (f) a)bien ~, to redeem the soul; amenden (curen, helen) ~, reform the soul, heal the soul; saven ~, deliver the soul from sin or damnation [see also saven v. 2.(b)]; winnen ~, gain a soul, either for heaven or hell [for similar quots. cp. borwen v. 3.(a), (c), helpen v. 2.(b), lesen v.(5) 1.(a), quikenen v. 2.(b), redemen v. (a), etc.]; (g) aquellen (destroien, fordon, mortheren, ofslen, shenden, slen, spillen) ~, to destroy the life of grace in (one's, another's) soul, cause the soul to be doomed to perdition, damn the sou l [see also destroien v. 6.(a); see shenden v. 2.(b); see also slen v. 4.(b)]; ben) ded in ~, be) lacking the life of sanctifying grace; deren (derfen, drecchen, harmen, robben, wounden) ~, destroy or impair the life of grace in the soul; dien in ~, forlesen (forlosen, lesen, losen) ~, lose the life of grace in (one's) soul, lose (one's) soul, be doomed to perdition, be damned [see also forlesen v. 3.(a); lesen v.(4) 9c.(a), (b); losen v.(2) 4.(a), (b)]; forlesen ~ of, lose a soul from (the ark of the church), allow (someone's) soul to be damned; (h) yelden (up) ~, yeven ~, to give up the ghost, die; yelden a god ~ to god, yeven up a god ~ unto god, die in a state of grace; (i) in passages from Scripture or following scriptural usage: the soul [?perh. belonging to 4. (b)]
In cpds., combs., and related gen. phrases: (a) ~ bot, the ship of souls, the church; soule(s bote, salvation; also, savior; ~ bred, the Eucharist; ~ candel, one of several candles set about the coffin at a funeral service; soule(s deth, the loss of grace; also, damnation [see also deth n. 7.(b)]; ~ felaue, a fellow member of a religious order; ~ (soules, saulene) fode, spiritual sustenance [see also fode n.(1) 2.(a)]; (b) ~ herde, a spiritual shepherd; ~ hous [OE sāwel-hūs], the body; ~ knil, the knell tolled at the death of a person; also fig.; ~ (soules, saulene) leche, one who heals the soul of sin [see also leche n.(3) 1.(d), 2.(a)]; ~ lif, the spiritual life of grace in the Christian; also, God as the source of this life; ~ mede, spiritual reward or benefit; ~ medicine, spiritual medicine; ~ morther, spiritual suicide or death; soule(s nede, what is needed for the salvation or well-being of the soul; ~ prest, a priest who sings masses for the dead; soules reste, eternal rest in heaven; also, spiritual rest in this world; ~ shot [cp. OE sāwel-gescot], a payment to a church on the death of a person; ~ werk, works of charity, masses, etc. for a dead man's soul; (c) soules (saulene) hele [cp. soule-hele n.], the well-being of the soul; healing of the soul; also, that which brings health to the soul; soule(s helthe, the health of the soul, spiritual well-being; the eternal well-being or bliss of the soul [see also helthe n. 1.(a), 2.(a)].
(a) The disembodied spirit of a dead person between death and doomsday; also in fig. context [quot. a1425(c1385)]; soules in purgatorie, the Church Suffering, the elect temporarily in purgatory [see also purgatorie n. 1. (b)]; seventhe dai of soules reste, time passed in heaven until doomsday; (b) the soul of a person transported in an ecstasy; (c) al-soule(s dai, al soules, commemoracioun of al soules, soules messe dai [cp. soule-messe n. (b)], the minde of cristen soules, All Souls' Day, November 2; college of al soules, college of the soules of al feithful ded, All Souls College, Oxford.
(a) One of three species or types of soul, giving, respectively, vegetable, animal, or rational life; ~ of lif, grouing (kindeli, natural, norishinge) ~, the soul which has powers of nutrition, growth, and generation; ~ animal (bestful), ~ (of) feling, feling ~; bestli) ~ sensible, sensible ~ [see sensible adj. 3.]; ~ animal sensitif, sensitif ~ [see sensitif adj. 2.(a)], knouinge ~, the soul which has sensitive, appetitive, and locomotive powers; ~ racionale, ~ resonable, resonable ~ [see also resonable adj.(2) 1.(a)]; ~ resouninge, ~ of resoun (wit), the soul which, capable of reason and of existence apart from the body, makes human life distinct from animal or vegetable life; parfit ~, a complete (i.e., vegetable, animal, and rational) soul [= 1a.(a), (b)]; (b) the animating principle of beast or man; animate existence, life of beast or man; ?also, the soul as the substantial form or essence of the body [quot. ?a1450]; ~ haver, a living being; membres that haven ~, parts of the body in which the soul or life was thought to reside; of ~, animate; (c) the principle of bodily life in human beings; life; unclene upon ~ of man, ritually unclean through contact with a dead body; leien (lesen, leven, paien up, putten, putten awei, setten, yeven) ~, to give up (one's) life; (d) ~ livinge (yeving lif), livinge ~, a living creature [chiefly in transl. of Vulgate L anima vivens]; (e) fig. the world soul; a constituent principle, principle of activity; (f) alch. something resembling the soul, as animating and volatile; also, a subtle or rarefied substance; ~ of saturne, lead acetate, the supposed essence of lead.
(a) In Bibl. passages or references or with Bibl. typology: a person, an individual; mannes ~; (b) in Bibl. translations: min (his) ~, myself (himself); the ~ of theim, they themselves; don (taken) awei ~, to hold someone in suspense; his ~ is not with, he does not wish (sb.) well; leste min ~ go awei from, lest my glory depart; min ~ is not to, I could not warm to (sb.); min ~ wente awei from, my glory departed from (sb.); (c) a human being viewed in the light of his spiritual condition [some quots. may belong in 1a.(b) or 1b.(a)]; (d) in adverbial phrases concerning moral disposition or activity: the whole being of a person; in contrit ~, contritely; in herte and in ~, of al (thin) ~, with ~ humble and mek, with devout (paciente) ~, with al his (min, etc.) ~, etc.
The soul's faculty of understanding divine truths, contemplating divine mysteries, seeing visions, foreseeing the future, etc.; soules eie, eie (sighte) of ~, understandinge of soules.
The mind, intellect; also, the imagination; flitting ~, a vacillating mind; mevinge (werk, werking) of ~, intellectual activity, mental activity; secretnesse of ~, secret thoughts, innermost thoughts; slou ~, a dull or slow mind; thinkinge (thought, thoughtes) of ~; thrivinge ~, the active intellect; returnen (revolven, setten) in ~, to turn (sth.) over in (one's) mind, reflect on, ponder on.
(a) The seat of emotions, feelings, etc.; accident of the ~, a mental or emotional disturbance [see accident n. 3.(b)]; passiounes of the ~, afflictions of the mind or feelings; min ~ is melted awei, min (thin) ~ is molten, my (your) heart is consumed or overwhelmed by grief, sorrow, or love [see melten v. 1b. for quots.]; (b) Bibl. putten (reren, setten) ~ to, reisen (up) ~ to, to set (one's) heart on (sth.), fix desires on; sitten in ~, be dear to (sb.), please; (c) of grete ~, ?courageous; ?proud.
(a) Will, purpose; desire; taken in-to soule(s, to deliver (sb.) up to the will (of another); (b) o (on) ~, on herte and o (on) ~, one purpose, unanimity.
A character in a play; also, in titles of books.
In oaths and asseverations: (a) bi bodi and ~, bi god that gaf me ~, bi) goddes ~, bi min ~, bi min faderes (moderes, moderes sires, sires) ~, bi min soules helthe, bi the helthe of thin ~, bi (up) peril of min ~, upon oure soules, etc.; (b) as (so) god min ~ blesse; as (so) god min ~ save; god so wisli on (upon) min ~ reue; I set min ~ for thin, min ~ for youres, (I wager) my soul in place of yours; so jupiter have of (on) min ~ part, as Jupiter keep my soul; etc.
In pious or imprecatory ejaculations: god assoile his ~; god blesse his ~; god have hire ~, God keep her soul; god have merci of his ~; god yeue his ~ reste, God rest his soul; the fend have his ~; etc.
In proverbs and prov. expressions.
Cook. ?The spongy lining of the frame of a goose.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1291 Her lis arfaxat (Lamb 499)412 : Her lis arfaxat fader brandan and kolmkilne and cowhel þer halewe ant dame coroune moder þeyre halewe þat komen in to bretene sautes [read: saules] to seke.
  • Note: New spelling--this is an error form.--per MJW

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: In sense 2.(c), al-soule(s dai: under MED 'A,' there is already the entry al-soulen dai phr. The quots should be one place or the other.--per MJW.
Note: Note that the entry al-soulen dai phr. also includes the gloss "also al-soulen, al-soules for short". These phrases under 2.(c) would also need to be moved to al-soulen dai.--per MLL
Note: If this phrase is to be moved to the entry al-soulen dai, these are the relevant quots: (a1395), a1400, ?1435, (?1449), c1500.--per MLL
Note: If the quots are moved to al-soulen dai, the variant text of the (c1395) quot. ("Commemoracioun of Soulis")needs to be quoted here under soul(e with its variant then being the "Alle Soulen day" of the (c1395) text.--per MLL
Note: In soul(e 2.(c), the phrase commemoracioun of al soules needs to be emended to commemoracioun of (al) soules to accommodate the example in the previous note.--per MLL
Note: If the quots. are moved to al-soulen dai phr., perhaps [cp. al-soulen dai phr.] can be added here in soul(e sense 2.(c).--per MLL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc. (sense 7.(a)), see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. passion of the soul.