the soul of (something)

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the soul of (something)

The representation, essence, or embodiment of a particular trait or quality (which is stated after "of"). My mom is just the soul of kindness—she's always willing to help anyone in need. As the old saying goes, brevity is the soul of wit—if your joke meanders or stalls, the humor of it dies. Don't worry, my sister is the soul of discretion—she won't tell anyone about our engagement before we do.
See also: of, soul

soul of, the

The essence of some quality, as in You can trust her; she's the soul of discretion, or He's the very soul of generosity but he can be cranky at times. This idiom was first recorded in 1605.
See also: soul
References in classic literature ?
This agrees well with that high philosophy of Beauty which the ancient writers delighted in; for they said that the soul of man, embodied here on earth, went roaming up and down in quest of that other world of its own out of which it came into this, but was soon stupefied by the light of the natural sun, and unable to see any other objects than those of this world, which are but shadows of real things.
The soul which is in the soul of each, craving a perfect beatitude, detects incongruities, defects and disproportion in the behavior of the other.
The ravages of mental distress affected the soul of man in the same way that acute physical anguish affected the body; and an intelligent being, suffering from a moral malady, had surely a right to destroy himself, a right he shares with the sheep, that, fallen a victim to the 'staggers,' beats its head against a tree.
This may seem like a ponderous weight of wisdom to descend upon the soul of a young woman of twenty-eight--perhaps more wisdom than the Holy Ghost is usually pleased to vouchsafe to any woman.
John Laus in Origin of Human Soul, Chief Truths of the Faith emphasized that 'the soul of man is not formed of any kind of matter, but created directly by God as a spiritual substance and united with his body.'
Plato's dualism and the soul of the Early Church Fathers.
Her customers may request for the soul of anyone, famous or not, except for just one name: Kanye West.
Even the soul of a person who dies in a "state of grace" has accumulated some sin, and so it must go through purification before it can enter fully into the life of God--a process traditionally known as purgatory.
The soul of the man or woman who hand-sewed the cover in a mountain town in Costa Rica, the ball propped and held motionless on a wooden stand.
2 : the essential or most important part of something <This room is the soul of the house.>
"The Soul of Southern Cooking" offers a from-the-heart explanation of what southern cooking really is, followed by countless recipes for delicious dishes that are commonly known as soul food.
"To me, the sanctuary is the soul of the black church, and the soul is the sanctuary of our spiritual being.
160-220 A.D.) who said: "The soul of man, like the shoot of a tree, is drawn out into a physical progeny from Adam, the parent stock" (Orr, 1939/1957, p.
The soul of Europe will be built upon its diversities, its qualities and its aspirations,' wrote Robert Schuman, one of the fathers of the European Union, in 1963.
"The Soul of the City," 64, in Sennett, Richard (Ed.), Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities.