spirit

noun
spir·​it | \ ˈspir-ət \

Definition of spirit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms
2 : a supernatural being or essence: such as
a capitalized : holy spirit
c : an often malevolent being that is bodiless but can become visible specifically : ghost sense 2
d : a malevolent being that enters and possesses a human being
3 : temper or disposition of mind or outlook especially when vigorous or animated in high spirits
4 : the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person
5a : the activating or essential principle influencing a person acted in a spirit of helpfulness
b : an inclination, impulse, or tendency of a specified kind : mood
6a : a special attitude or frame of mind the money-making spirit was for a time driven back— J. A. Froude
b : the feeling, quality, or disposition characterizing something undertaken in a spirit of fun
7 : a lively or brisk quality in a person or a person's actions
8 : a person having a character or disposition of a specified nature
9 : a mental disposition characterized by firmness or assertiveness denied the charge with spirit
10a : distillate sense 1: such as
(1) : the liquid containing ethanol and water that is distilled from an alcoholic liquid or mash often used in plural
(2) : any of various volatile liquids obtained by distillation or cracking (as of petroleum, shale, or wood) often used in plural
b : a usually volatile organic solvent (such as an alcohol, ester, or hydrocarbon)
11a : prevailing tone or tendency spirit of the age
b : general intent or real meaning spirit of the law
12 : an alcoholic solution of a volatile substance spirit of camphor
13 : enthusiastic loyalty school spirit
14 capitalized, Christian Science : god sense 1b

spirit

verb
spirited; spiriting; spirits

Definition of spirit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to infuse with spirit especially : animate hope and apprehension of feasibleness spirits all industry — John Goodman
2 : to carry off usually secretly or mysteriously was hustled into a … motorcar and spirited off to the country— W. L. Shirer

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Synonyms for spirit

Synonyms: Noun

psyche, soul

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Choose the Right Synonym for spirit

Noun

courage, mettle, spirit, resolution, tenacity mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. the courage to support unpopular causes mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience. a challenge that will test your mettle spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one's own or keep up one's morale when opposed or threatened. her spirit was unbroken by failure resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one's ends. the resolution of pioneer women tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat. held to their beliefs with great tenacity

Examples of spirit in a Sentence

Noun

the spirits of my ancestors Some religions believe that the same spirit is reincarnated many times in different bodies. Yoga is very healthy for both body and spirit. We will all miss her generous spirit. My father was a proud spirit.

Verb

The singer was spirited away in a limousine after the show. Some of the funds had been spirited away to other accounts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That’s because, over the last decade, creatives have made Bad Gastein their home, vowing to reawaken and renew its spirit. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "This Austrian Spa and Ski Town Is Straight Out of a Wes Anderson Film," 11 Jan. 2019 In recent years, many wine lovers have chosen to forgo the specialty glass debate altogether and treat champagne like its base spirit—white wine. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About Brut Champagne," 21 Dec. 2018 Both men and women at the training were motivated to attend by empty nests, divorce, or spousal death that nearly destroyed their holiday spirit. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 Here are a few of the coolest ways to wear your Halloween spirit on your fingertips this year. Allure, "12 Halloween Nail Art Ideas to Trick Or Treat Yo'self With," 8 Oct. 2018 This operatic interpretation placed vocal beauty above all else, stripping the musical of its theatrical spirit and leaving me cold. Joshua Barone, New York Times, "The Trouble With Bernstein’s Broadway in the Concert Hall," 13 July 2018 In a world that so easily dubs white men geniuses, but views Black girls as needing less protection and care from as young as five years old, nurturing their spirits and dreams can be transformative. Abby Haglage, refinery29.com, "4 Black Girls With Big Dreams & The 4 Women Living Them," 13 July 2018 Martha will be remembered for her gentle yet strong spirit. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Martha W. Trull," 10 July 2018 Her soul soared until her spirit hovered just above her body, watching the slow realignment of her moods from bleak to upbeat. Beth Kephart, Philly.com, "Frances Metzman's 'Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Bay': The rules of dancing, life, and rocking thongs in a retirement village," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When Ochoa was 9 months old, her mother paid a smuggler to spirit them from Mexico. Adam Geller, The Seattle Times, "A community that backed Trump says no to migrant detention center," 30 July 2018 She and her sister Iris, then 11 years old, were placed on a train and spirited away to the English countryside. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "What World War II’s ‘Operation Pied Piper’ taught us about the trauma of family separations," 19 June 2018 Likewise, local shellfish is often spirited away to Madrid and Barcelona. Tom Downey, WSJ, "A Spanish Food and Wine Region Comes Alive Again," 6 Dec. 2018 While doing so, Shrem allegedly spirited away 5,000 bitcoins now worth over $31 million at current exchange rates. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Judge to Winklevoss twins: You can’t seize $31M in allegedly stolen assets," 9 Nov. 2018 Ultimately, steps taken to keep the rivalry spirited yet civil have included a renewed emphasis on sportsmanship and the code of ethics outlined in the California Interscholastic Federation’s program of Pursuing Victory with Honor. Oscar Terrones, sandiegouniontribune.com, "South Bay baseball rivals decide to cool it," 20 Apr. 2018 The boy was a Chinese citizen, and spiriting him out of the country would be interpreted by Chinese authorities as one thing only: kidnapping. Todd Pitman, Fox News, "6 Years Gone: Myanmar woman escapes brutal China captivity," 6 Sep. 2018 Ariana Grande’s face has been spirited in from some anodyne TV interview. Michael Andor Brodeur, BostonGlobe.com, "The looming cloud of ‘deepfake’ videos, and the silver lining," 19 Apr. 2018 Finished in gilded strappy sandals, the new mom's stems skewed entirely toned, likely a result of running after her dog Finn or her baby girl with husband Thomas Sadoski, as well as Mamma Mia!'s spirited, smile-inducing choreography. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Amanda Seyfried Steps Out With a Dramatic Leg Reveal Worthy of a Dancing Queen," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spirit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spirit

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spirit

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, espirit, spirit, from Latin spiritus, literally, breath, from spirare to blow, breathe

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Statistics for spirit

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spirit

The first known use of spirit was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for spirit

spirit

noun

English Language Learners Definition of spirit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power

: the inner quality or nature of a person

: a person

spirit

verb

English Language Learners Definition of spirit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to carry (someone or something) away secretly

spirit

noun
spir·​it | \ ˈspir-ət \

Kids Definition of spirit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : mood entry 1 I'm in good spirits today.
2 : a being (as a ghost) whose existence cannot be explained
3 : a lively or brisk quality They sang with spirit.
4 : a force within a human being thought to give the body life, energy, and power : soul
5 : an attitude or feeling It was said in a spirit of fun.
6 : person sense 1 She was a bold spirit.
7 : an alcoholic liquor usually used in pl.
8 capitalized : God in the form of a spirit in Christianity
9 spirits plural : a solution in alcohol spirits of camphor
10 : real meaning or intention the spirit of the law

Other Words from spirit

spiritless \ -​ləs \ adjective

spirit

verb
spirited; spiriting

Kids Definition of spirit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to carry off secretly or mysteriously The jewels were spirited out of the country.

spirit

noun
spir·​it | \ ˈspir-ət \

Medical Definition of spirit

1a : distillate especially : the liquid containing ethyl alcohol and water that is distilled from an alcoholic liquid or mash often used in plural
b : a usually volatile organic solvent (as an alcohol, ester, or hydrocarbon)
2 : an alcoholic solution of a volatile substance spirit of camphor

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More from Merriam-Webster on spirit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spirit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spirit

Spanish Central: Translation of spirit

Nglish: Translation of spirit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spirit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spirit

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