spir·​it·​ed | \ ˈspir-ə-təd How to pronounce spirited (audio) \

Definition of spirited

: full of energy, animation, or courage a spirited discussion

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Other Words from spirited

spiritedly adverb
spiritedness noun

Did You Know?

You may see spirited used to describe a conversation, a debate, a horse, or a campaign. And it often shows up in such words as high-spirited ("bold and energetic"), mean-spirited ("spiteful"), and public-spirited ("generous to a community"), all of which reflect the original meaning of spirit, a notion much like "soul" or "personality".

Examples of spirited in a Sentence

The team put up a spirited defense. She's a very spirited young lady.
Recent Examples on the Web The leader of the beleaguered group was mean-spirited and threatened to punish the soldiers for not digging fast enough. Norman B. Gildin, sun-sentinel.com, "Are you a leader or a follower? | Opinion," 2 Apr. 2021 The flag controversy became the subject of a spirited debate during a county legislature public hearing in mid-August. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Sheriff warned by US investigators after flying Trump flag on patrol boat," 13 Mar. 2021 Despite being a little smaller than the rest of his peers, Moll is as spirited and vigorous as a June bug on a hot summer day. Evan Dudley, al, "‘A different way’: How Kris Moll became a consistent force for UAB," 9 Nov. 2020 Parker's interpretation often seemed a spirited debate between his two hands, here romantic vs. comedic, there funereal vs. frolicsome. Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune, "Guests spur Minnesota Orchestra in a stirring concert at a troubled time," 17 Apr. 2021 The convention-primary question is always a source of spirited debate for the party, but its been especially heated this year given the large field. Washington Post, "Judge tosses suit brought by Republican contender for Virginia governor," 19 Feb. 2021 The question of whether Britain had authorized a vaccine in haste, or the United States was wasting valuable time as the virus was killing about 1,500 Americans a day, provoked a spirited debate among scientists and industry experts on Wednesday. New York Times, "Why the U.K. Approved a Coronavirus Vaccine First," 2 Dec. 2020 Thursday address came at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, a wide-ranging event that included spirited debate on presidential power, intellectual property law, social justice and... The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Alito Defends the Courts," 13 Nov. 2020 Clear blue skies and a shiny sun are enveloping the comfy Pharmalot campus, where the short person is hunched over a laptop and the spirited official mascot is chasing varmints. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: EMA official says link exists between AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot and rare blood clots; Catalent to boost Moderna vaccine production," 9 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spirited.' 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 spirited

1601, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for spirited

Time Traveler

The first known use of spirited was in 1601

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Statistics for spirited

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spirited.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spirited. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for spirited



English Language Learners Definition of spirited

: full of courage or energy : very lively or determined


spir·​it·​ed | \ ˈspir-ə-təd How to pronounce spirited (audio) \

Kids Definition of spirited

: full of courage or energy a spirited horse a spirited debate

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