spirit

1 of 2

noun

spir·​it ˈspir-ət How to pronounce spirit (audio)
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
5
a
: 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
6
a
: a special attitude or frame of mind
the money-making spirit was for a time driven backJ. 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
10
a
: 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)
11
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

spirited; spiriting; spirits

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 countryW. L. Shirer
Choose the Right Synonym for spirit

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Despite this, brands from around the world are keeping the sporting spirit alive. Lily Templeton, WWD, 12 July 2024 In the spirit of community, here are six of our favorite places to get crushed — in Ocean City, at the Delaware beaches, and in D.C., too. D.C. 801: A sister bar to Dewey’s Starboard and Bethany’s Mango’s, the rooftop bar at 801 features a juicer front and center. Fritz Hahn, Washington Post, 12 July 2024
Verb
Plucked from a junior choir in Alabama and spirited back to Georgia, Lutiebelle is the key to Purlie’s whole enterprise. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 16 June 2024 Content by this author: The Rescue Of The Danish Jews: Moral Courage Under Stress The rescue in October 1943 of the bulk of Danish Jewry-about 7,000 were spirited to Sweden-is depicted in various accounts, some previously published. William P. Bundy, Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for spirit 

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of spirit was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near spirit

Cite this Entry

“Spirit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spirit. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

spirit

1 of 2 noun
spir·​it ˈspir-ət How to pronounce spirit (audio)
1
: a force within a human being thought to give the body life, energy, and power : soul
2
a
capitalized : holy spirit
b
: a being (as a ghost) whose existence cannot be explained by the known laws of nature
3
: mood entry 1
in good spirits
4
: a lively or brisk quality
answered with spirit
5
: real meaning or intention
the spirit of the law
6
: an attitude governing one's actions
said in a spirit of fun
7
a
: a distilled alcoholic liquor
usually used in plural
b
: a solution in alcohol
often used in plural
spirits of camphor

spirit

2 of 2 verb
: to carry off secretly or mysteriously
Etymology

Noun

Middle English spirit "a life-giving force," derived from Latin spiritus, literally, "breath"

Medical Definition

spirit

noun
spir·​it ˈspir-ət How to pronounce spirit (audio)
1
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on spirit

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