es·​prit i-ˈsprē How to pronounce esprit (audio)
: vivacious cleverness or wit

Examples of esprit in a Sentence

the dance company has an infectious esprit that captivates audiences
Recent Examples on the Web In power, their Cheka harnessed the esprit of a military-religious order of knights with the atrocious violence of a gangster hit squad. Time, 24 Aug. 2023 This, along with the character’s hardened esprit of the streets, lofts her off the page: Even a future movie star is having to make money. James Wood, The New Yorker, 1 June 2020 The colony experiences the egalitarianism of a frontier reinforced by the esprit of a group of people working together with a sense of mission on a common task. Veronique Greenwood, Discover Magazine, 27 Feb. 2013 As hip-hop rose from an underground phenomenon to a global vernacular, that esprit—of being the best, the baddest, the most beautiful—never vanished. Outside Online, 28 Oct. 2021 Each outfit in the show is accompanied by a headpiece that features a corresponding term, such as esprit, vitality, and self-determination. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 14 Sep. 2021 The assembly has moved online because of the coronavirus, compounding the pandemic's blows to the city's economy and worldly esprit. Jennifer Peltz, Star Tribune, 21 Sep. 2020 Longtime residents credit the company for the city’s somewhat international esprit and a level of spoken English beyond even the already-high Finnish norm (the city’s street names—Machine Alley; Adapter Street—are more unambiguous). Natasha Frost, Quartz, 29 Oct. 2019 College deans wanted to establish the same esprit-de-corps within houses as could be found in an exclusive fraternity, but that required engineering. Carla Yanni, Smithsonian, 6 Sep. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'esprit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Old French espirit, Latin spiritus spirit

First Known Use

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of esprit was in 1573

Dictionary Entries Near esprit

Cite this Entry

“Esprit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


es·​prit is-ˈprē How to pronounce esprit (audio)
: lively cleverness or wit

from French esprit, literally, "spirit"

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