spiritual

adjective
spir·​i·​tu·​al | \ˈspir-i-chə-wəl, -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

Participants encouraged to see yoga as way of connecting with the spiritual. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Want to save $40 this month? Skip the gym with these free summer fitness classes," 14 June 2018 Slave owners, however, often manipulated the bible's scripture for their own benefit to force indefinite obedience, a menacing tactic used to seal fates not merely in the physical realm but in the spiritual. Geneva S. Thomas, Teen Vogue, "Royal Wedding: The Significance of Bishop Michael Curry's Sermon," 20 May 2018 Brittny Smith sings a heartfelt spiritual as Ronnique Murray dances with a Bible, falling to the floor in despair and reaching to the heavens in hope. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Step Afrika! brings a sprawling canvas of African-American history to life," 4 May 2018 Ever the influential designer, Philo's Frankenstein-ed slip-on trend danced around the women's world for sometime before finally landing in menswear, where the high fashion/low fashion sandal has truly found its spiritual home. Liz Raiss, GQ, "This Summer's Best Sandals Got the Big Ugly Sneaker Treatment," 4 July 2018 John picks them up in a car outfitted with interior cameras, starts some light chat, and then dives into the spiritual stuff. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "Seatbelt Psychic Puts A Celebrity Medium in the Driver's Seat," 11 July 2018 Members of the charitable organization, known by the unwieldy abbreviation SMOTJ, regard themselves as spiritual descendants of the original Templars. Kristina Krug, Smithsonian, "Meet the Americans Following in the Footsteps of the Knights Templar," 28 June 2018 After a brief rest and lunch, we were greeted by the village’s diminutive leader, who was also the region’s main shaman, or spiritual healer. Doug Hansen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Ecuador’s amazing Amazon," 23 May 2018 EDUCATION Lawrence University named Terra Winston associate dean of spiritual and religious life. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New hires, promotions at Wisconsin companies," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The weekend-long festivities at the World Trade Center Seaport Hotel wrap up Sunday with a jazz and spirituals brunch featuring student performers. Robert Steiner, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Arts Academy honoring alums and other notables to celebrate 20th anniversary," 16 May 2018 The troupe’s fresh take on the art form — drawing on blues, spirituals and gospel for inspiration — changed the perception of American dance. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "2 shows for arts lovers head to Dr. Phillips Center," 6 July 2018 In one of the whitest spaces in modern England, Bishop Michael Curry gave a rousing sermon that mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, and spirituals sung by slaves in the American south. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Thoroughly Modern Meghan," 21 May 2018 Just like the spirituals invented during slavery, the blues that bubbled up after the collapse of Reconstruction, and the soul that took root during the civil-rights era, hip-hop was in a sense preordained by the social conditions of blackness. Vann R. Newkirk Ii, The Atlantic, "Fear of a Black 'Messiah'," 8 Apr. 2018 The Episcopal leader reminded guests that in America, slaves would sing uplifting, hopeful spirituals, even amidst horrific circumstances. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Royal wedding's Bishop Michael Curry wows at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's ceremony with sermon on love," 20 May 2018 Boykin’s Testimony: Evidence Given by a Witness (for Talley) is danced by a quartet of women in white and set to spirituals by Fisk Jubilee Singers. Ellen Dunkel, Philly.com, "'Success Stories' celebrates Philadanco-bred choreographers at the Kimmel Center," 14 Apr. 2018 Davis could hardly move in the crowded campus chapel, where the congregation listened to spirituals and then-university President Benjamin Mays’ eulogy. Michael Livingston, latimes.com, "How MLK's death affected a nation, as told by those who remember it," 3 Apr. 2018 French farewell Retiring after 22 years on the UC Davis music faculty, Michael G. French conducts his final performance of the University Chorus on Friday, June 8, at the Mondavi Center, leading a program of American songs and spirituals. Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, "Performances set for solstice fest," 5 June 2018

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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Statistics for spiritual

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spiritual

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

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More Definitions for spiritual

spiritual

adjective

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 \

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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Comments on spiritual

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