spiritual

adjective
spir·​i·​tu·​al | \ ˈspir-i-chə-wəl How to pronounce spiritual (audio) , -i-chəl, -ich-wəl \

Definition of spiritual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal spiritual needs
2a : of or relating to sacred matters spiritual songs
b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal spiritual authority lords spiritual
3 : concerned with religious values
4 : related or joined in spirit our spiritual home his spiritual heir
5a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena
b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic

spiritual

noun

Definition of spiritual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 spirituals plural : things of a spiritual, ecclesiastical, or religious nature
2 : a religious song usually of a deeply emotional character that was developed especially among blacks in the southern U.S.
3 capitalized : any of a party of 13th and 14th century Franciscans advocating strict observance of a rule of poverty for their order

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Other Words from spiritual

Adjective

spiritually adverb
spiritualness noun

Examples of spiritual in a Sentence

Adjective Doctors must consider the emotional and spiritual needs of their patients. I regularly consult our pastor about spiritual matters. The Romantic composers saw Beethoven as a spiritual ancestor. France will always be the spiritual home of wine lovers. Noun The congregation sang hymns and spirituals. sang a spiritual at the funeral
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Another is to try to see the period as a symptom of a deep cultural, spiritual, and political malaise that began many centuries before. Ian Buruma, Harper's Magazine, "Teutomania," 23 June 2020 Hubbard discusses the spiritual moment of the pandemic and national unrest, his message to anyone looking for God now and when his church might worship in person again. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Outbreak Alabama: Where is God right now?," 23 June 2020 The stone circle at Stonehenge, whose purpose remains unknown to scientists despite decades of research, is one of Britain's most famous landmarks and a draw to tourists and people in search of spiritual connections with nature. NBC News, "Giant circle of shafts discovered close to Stonehenge," 22 June 2020 The Watson here is Doyle, an Army surgeon recently returned from the war in Afghanistan with disabling physical and spiritual injuries. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In 'The Angel of the Crows,' a Sherlockian duo hunt Jack the Ripper," 19 June 2020 Apache people go to the mountain for spiritual journeys and guidance and the tribe says the observatory violates the Native American Religious Freedom Act of 1968 as well as the National Historic Preservation Act. Erin Stone, azcentral, "Conservation groups sue to protect habitat for imperiled Mount Graham red squirrel," 18 June 2020 The spiritual meditation group focused on words that described the loving nature of God. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "The psychological benefits of prayer: What science says about the mind-soul connection," 17 June 2020 In March 2019, the Supreme Court halted the execution of Buddhist prisoner Patrick Murphy, who was denied the ability to have a spiritual adviser attend his execution. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Supreme Court halts execution of Texas inmate after spiritual adviser barred from death chamber," 17 June 2020 So entire region of Ladakh, Tibet, and many parts of India are dotted with these spiritual monuments called stupas. National Geographic, "Episode 1: The Towers of Ladakh," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a contralto, Anderson’s repertoire included classical music, popular songs, and spirituals. Caroline Rogers, Southern Living, "A New Documentary Celebrates the Legendary 20th Century Singer Marian Anderson," 30 May 2020 And many of the songs sung are rooted in African American spirituals passed down from enslaved ancestors. Andrew J. Yawn, USA TODAY, "Jazz funerals, normally a 'celebration of life,' are silenced: New Orleans grieves differently now," 25 Apr. 2020 The Dallas Opera has live-streamed several performances, including a vocal recital with spirituals sung by bass-baritone Mark S. Doss. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Classical music groups turn to the internet to reach audiences during pandemic," 1 Apr. 2020 King says Plump plans to sing Negro spirituals and talk about music history to accompany his tours. al, "Comedienne Joy launches bus tours of Birmingham civil rights landmarks," 19 Jan. 2020 His African-American assistant, Harry Burleigh, turned spirituals into concert songs with electrifying success beginning in 1913. Joseph Horowitz, WSJ, "A Symphony to Link Africa and America," 7 Feb. 2020 As a black spiritual hums on the soundtrack, Hooded Justice perorates about the legacy of being the victim—not the complicit or recruited perpetrator—of violence: My mama played the piano right over there. Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books, "In the Time of Monsters," 24 Mar. 2020 The Czech composer encouraged Americans to use African American spirituals and Native American melodies as the themes of European-style symphonies. Los Angeles Times, "Review: L.A. Phil’s Ives-Dvorák cycle seemed like a bad idea. Dudamel made it a revelation," 25 Feb. 2020 Many of Seeger’s recordings were his versions of folk standards, union songs, spirituals and discoveries from all over the world—usually on banjo, but sometimes on guitar. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, "Grammy Nod to Folkways’ Pete Seeger Collection Is a Fitting Tribute," 13 Feb. 2020

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spiritual

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French espirital, spiritual, from Late Latin spiritualis, from Latin, of breathing, of wind, from spiritus

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Time Traveler for spiritual

Time Traveler

The first known use of spiritual was in the 14th century

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Statistics for spiritual

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spiritual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiritual. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for spiritual

spiritual

adjective
How to pronounce spiritual (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of spiritual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a person's spirit
: of or relating to religion or religious beliefs
: having similar values and ideas : related or joined in spirit

spiritual

noun

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

: a religious folk song that was sung originally by African-Americans in the southern U.S.

spiritual

adjective
spir·​i·​tu·​al | \ ˈspir-i-chə-wəl How to pronounce spiritual (audio) \

Kids Definition of spiritual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or consisting of spirit : not bodily or material “Sometimes we can't know what spiritual damage it leaves even when physical recovery is complete.”— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
2 : of or relating to sacred or religious matters

Other Words from spiritual

spiritually adverb

spiritual

noun

Kids Definition of spiritual (Entry 2 of 2)

: a religious folk song developed especially among black people of the southern United States

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