spirit

noun
spir·​it | \ ˈspir-ət How to pronounce spirit (audio) \

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

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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 Therapy for moral injury seeks to ease guilt and mend the spirit. The Christian Science Monitor, "A life overflowing with meaning," 8 Nov. 2019 The same spirit that fought against the ills of the past keeps remaking and reforming itself for today. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "California has always lived on edge of doom," 8 Nov. 2019 Less than 72 hours later, without a trial and after the county sheriff unsuccessfully tried to spirit James out of town to safety, residents took the law into their own hands. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Revisiting an American Town Where Black People Weren’t Welcome After Dark," 7 Nov. 2019 Stephen King famously doesn’t care for director Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of his classic horror novel The Shining, about a family threatened by supernatural spirits — and the father’s own addiction issues — at the remote Overlook Hotel. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Stephen King says Doctor Sleep film 'redeems' Stanley Kubrick's The Shining," 5 Nov. 2019 For Bolsonaro, gold prospectors serve as a symbol of the country’s pioneer spirit—much as West Virginia coal miners do for Trump. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest," 4 Nov. 2019 During Halloween, spirits are seen as scary, or something to be warded off. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Dia de los Muertos is more than sugar skulls. What it means to Louisville immigrants," 1 Nov. 2019 Even with that mohawk and Halloween-worthy spirit, Keenan was the lone Tool member who didn't sport a costume Thursday. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tool channel demons — and Dwight Schrute — at intense Halloween show at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum," 1 Nov. 2019 Marigolds line the path to the altar, directing the spirits toward it. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Dia de los Muertos: Ofrenda takes center stage at Phoenix College," 1 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adventurous, high spirited, kind hearted, and, at times, a bit too reckless, Lyra dreams of following her uncle, Lord Asriel, on his adventures in the north. Nick Romano, EW.com, "His Dark Materials digi-dictionary: Your guide to the HBO series multiverse," 3 Nov. 2019 Bramblett, spirited out of Tuscaloosa, Ala., didn’t record his first touchback until the USC game. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "Under Brian Polian, Notre Dame's special teams are worthy of the tag," 25 Oct. 2019 So expect Russia, spirited anyway at this World Cup, to be extra motivated in its farewell for Artemyev. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Stepping-stone for Scots is landmark for Artemyev’s Russia," 7 Oct. 2019 Extracted from the root of a plant native to West Africa, the drug produces psychedelic effects akin to a waking dream and is said by its advocates to spirit away withdrawal symptoms with a single dose, leaving users sober and uninterested in smack. Wired, "A Detox Drug Promises Miracles—If It Doesn't Kill You First," 15 Sep. 2019 To help support themselves in their new lives, refugees could sell the glamorous belongings that the Cook sisters managed to spirit away. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "Ida and Louise Cook, Two Unusual Heroines of the Second World War," 3 Sep. 2019 Brick-sized blocks of Libyan dinars bulge from suitcases or are spirited away in wheelbarrows. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "What’s for sale at this outdoor market? Cold, hard cash," 11 July 2019 Balkman says the two had spirited letter-writing back and forth during their days as legislators. Wayne Drash, CNN, "From Ferris Bueller to opioid trial: A judge's wild ride into history," 26 Aug. 2019 Local Logan Square shops will be on hand hawking their wares, including Ace High Vintage, Ryan Duggan, and No Requests, while Revolution beer, a variety of cocktails and DJs will keep things spirited. Joseph Hernandez, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Chicago Labor Day Weekend 2019," 23 Aug. 2019

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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More Definitions for spirit

spirit

noun
How to pronounce spirit (audio)

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 How to pronounce spirit (audio) \

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 How to pronounce spirit (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spirit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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