"old soul"

Martin Kaminer martin.kaminer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 28 07:59:38 UTC 2012

On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 12:11 AM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at sympatico.ca>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
> Subject:      Re: "old soul"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> That's always been how I've taken it, too. That's how it was explained to
> me the first time I heard it. I guess the usage is broadening. But, ah, how
> does either sense account for Old King Cole?
> James Harbeck.

Intriguing.  I'm going to suggest that when "old soul" is modified (by
merry, dear, sad, poor, etc.) it generally indicates "a person regarded
with affection or pity" while the unmodified usage indicates someone with
wisdom or perspective beyond his years, however acquired.

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