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 President Trump then put a bullseye on the back of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS’s founder and Islamo-fascist spiritual leader. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Trump’s Underappreciated Foreign Policy," 25 Sep. 2020 People who are feeling lonely or stressed out, maybe from taking care of the kids, tend to turn to their spiritual home as a place of support. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore-area Orthodox rabbis work around electronics ban in planning for Yom Kippur in the coronavirus era," 25 Sep. 2020 In New Orleans, spiritual home of the go cup, some bar owners are pleading for a reunion. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Still closed as others reopen, New Orleans bars want to bring back go cups," 24 Sep. 2020 Rabbi Samuel Kieffer, the Conservative synagogue’s spiritual leader, blew the shofar at this short outdoor drive-in service. Sergio Carmona, sun-sentinel.com, "Drive-in shofar service brings touch of normalcy to High Holidays," 18 Sep. 2020 Some of her fellow parishioners are more inclined to trust their spiritual leader instead of their doctor or health officials. Julie Washington, cleveland, "‘We created an oasis:’ Black churches evolve to offer support, reliable coronavirus information during pandemic," 10 Sep. 2020 Francis, Shiloh’s spiritual leader for the last 28 years, died Saturday from cancer, his wife said. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "‘He really walked the walk’; Shiloh Baptist Church pastor leaves behind legacy of service," 9 Sep. 2020 LeCroy's spiritual adviser, Sister Barbara Battista, stood a few feet away inside the chamber, her head bowed and reading softly from a prayer book. Michael Tarm, Star Tribune, "US government executes killer obsessed with witchcraft," 22 Sep. 2020 Many didn’t have access to medical care and were cut off from their traditional diets and lifestyles, including spiritual practices that were tied to their homelands. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "COVID-19 data on Native Americans is ‘a national disgrace.’ This scientist is fighting to be counted," 24 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Families promised to intimately share their lives, from the spiritual to the financial, and often bought homes near one another. New York Times, "Rooted in Faith, Amy Coney Barrett Represents a New Conservatism," 11 Oct. 2020 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

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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spiritual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiritual. Accessed 30 Oct. 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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Comments on spiritual

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