spir·​it·​ed ˈspir-ə-təd How to pronounce spirited (audio)
: full of energy, animation, or courage
a spirited discussion
spiritedly adverb
spiritedness noun

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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 musical features the voices of Ariana DeBose as young, spirited Asha, and Chris Pine as the scheming King Magnifico, the wizardly keeper of his community’s wishes. Michael Cavna, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 While celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall and a spirited revival, New York City Ballet is performing 18 ballets by its founding choreographer, George Balanchine. Joshua Barone, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Make these spirited holiday cocktails for an adults-only party—just be sure to have some hot chocolate stocked for the kids. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 14 Nov. 2023 The Toreros then went out and played one of their most spirited games of the year. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2023 Although they've been retuned, Nissan chose to stick with a passive option here, and that decision negatively impacts the Z Nismo's ride quality at lower speeds and limits its composure when subjected to road imperfections and other suspension events during spirited drives out in the canyons. Bradley Iger, Ars Technica, 9 Nov. 2023 Watch Walken’s spirited appearance in the cold open below. William Earl, Variety, 28 Oct. 2023 Active Time: 15 mins Total Time: 40 mins Servings: 8 A Thanksgiving punch is a great way to greet your guests and get everyone feeling spirited and bright. Joy Wilson, Southern Living, 24 Oct. 2023 Grab a mask and dodge a spirited ballet dancer in The Rosin Box Project’s interactive dance theater event at the Horton Grand Theatre Facebook Show more sharing options The definition of a ghost light? Marcia Luttrell, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spirited was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near spirited

Cite this Entry

“Spirited.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spirited. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


spir·​it·​ed ˈspir-ət-əd How to pronounce spirited (audio)
: full of courage or energy
a spirited discussion
spiritedly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on spirited

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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