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

Temple Beth El’s leadership believes that adults should have the opportunity for continued learning, both spiritual and text based. Sergio Carmona, sun-sentinel.com, "South Florida synagogues offer Jewish life cycle opportunities for adults," 21 June 2019 Her new book, How to Breathe, released in April, tells a brief history of the breath as part of ancient spiritual and heath practices like meditation and yoga, and looks at the current science of breathing. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Do you even know how to breathe? This article will teach you," 2 June 2019 This sign overlooks your house of work routines and daily ritual, which may sound boring but is actually quite spiritual. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What June's Aquarius Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 29 May 2019 His music was very spiritual and touched the fans in different ways… Amazing. Erin Macleod, The New York Review of Books, "Dancehall: Raising the Voices of the Dead," 22 May 2019 These spiritual and historic destinations continue to capture our imaginations, underscoring their timeliness. National Geographic, "Discover 22 of Europe’s most sacred sites," 10 May 2019 After going scoreless in the first half, Curry poured in 33 points in a game that sent the Rockets into a spiritual free-fall that lingers to this day. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "The Warriors’ season crashed, but it was one to remember," 15 June 2019 The diocese's Office of Child and Youth Protection provides healing Masses, referrals for counseling, spiritual direction and facilitates meetings with Bishop Olmsted. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "2 Catholic orders name 65 priests accused or convicted of abuse; 27 served in Arizona," 15 June 2019 In the 1970s, Zeffirelli’s focus shifted from the romantic to the spiritual. Colleen Barry, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Famed Italian director Franco Zeffirelli dies at age 96," 15 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The program includes songs of the Easter Season and Pentecost as well as spirituals, folk songs and patriotic hymns. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Democratic Club hosts Campa-Najjar... community events this weekend," 7 June 2019 Though the score evokes spirituals, jazz, folk songs, ragtime and Dixieland, the elements of musical theater came through most strongly in this performance, led with brio by Stephen Lord. New York Times, "A Soldier’s Racially Charged Suicide Becomes a Powerful Opera," 13 June 2018 Composer Schachter describes the music as a blend of early-20th-century jazz and ragtime, African-American spirituals, and his own compositional language. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, "Paulus’s 10th season to include a revue of ART’s greatest hits," 21 May 2018 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

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

3 Jul 2019

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 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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Comments on spiritual

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