A soul in certain spiritual
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

, philosophical, and psychological
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects (such as rivers) have souls. The latter belief is commonly called animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

. Soul can function as a synonym for spirit
The English word spirit has many differing meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance contrasted with the material body.The spirit of a living thing usually refers to or explains its consciousness.The notions of a person's "spirit" and "soul" often also overlap,...

, mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 or self
Self (spirituality)
Religious views on the self vary widely. The self is a complex and core subject in many forms of spirituality. Two types of self are commonly considered - the self that is the ego, also called the learned, superficial self of mind and body, "false self", an egoic creation, and the Self which is...

; scientific works, in particular often consider soul as a synonym for mind.
The Modern English word soul derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, first attested to in the 8th century poem Beowulf
Beowulf , but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It survives in a single...

 v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter
Vespasian Psalter
The Vespasian Psalter is an Anglo-Saxon illuminated Psalter produced in the second or third quarter of the 8th century. It contains an interlinear gloss in Old English which is the oldest extant English translation of any portion of the Bible. It was produced in southern England, perhaps in St...

 77.50, and is cognate with other Germanic and Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

 terms for the same idea, including Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

 saiwala, Old High German
Old High German
The term Old High German refers to the earliest stage of the German language and it conventionally covers the period from around 500 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as 'prehistoric' and date the start of...

  sêula, sêla, Old Saxon
Old Saxon
Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, is the earliest recorded form of Low German, documented from the 8th century until the 12th century, when it evolved into Middle Low German. It was spoken on the north-west coast of Germany and in the Netherlands by Saxon peoples...

 sêola, Old Low Franconian
Old Dutch
In linguistics, Old Dutch denotes the forms of West Franconian spoken and written in the Netherlands and present-day northern Belgium during the Early Middle Ages. It is regarded as the primary stage in the development of a separate Dutch language...

 sêla, sîla, Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 sála as well as Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...


"Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul." ~ Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Following the Equator (1897), Mark Twain

"Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul." ~ The Neurotic's Notebook (1960), Mignon McLaughlin

"For of the soule the bodie forme doth take; For the soule is forme, and doth the bodie make." ~ An Hymne in Honour of Beautie, Edmund Spenser

"Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other." ~ Henry David Thoreau

"How strange a thing this is! The Priest telleth me that the Soul is worth all the gold in the world, and the merchants say that it is not worth a clipped piece of silver." ~ Oscar Wilde

"I believe that the soul consists of its sufferings. For the soul that cures its own sufferings dies." ~ Voces (1943), Antonio Porchia

"I simply believe that some part of the human Self or Soul is not subject to the laws of space and time." ~ Carl Jung

"I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam: I looked into the soul of another boy." ~ Annie Hall," Woody Allen

"Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time." ~ Timothy Leary

"Living is being born slowly. It would be a little too easy if we could borrow ready-made souls." ~ Flight to Arras (1942), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry