spiritual

1 of 2

adjective

spir·​i·​tu·​al ˈspir-i-chə-wəl How to pronounce spiritual (audio)
-i-chəl,
-ich-wəl
1
: of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal
spiritual needs
2
a
: 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
5
a
: of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena
b
: of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic
spiritually adverb
spiritualness noun

spiritual

2 of 2

noun

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 Black people 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Gemini May 21 – June 20 Pushing your political or spiritual views on others could be appealing to you today. Tarot.com, Baltimore Sun, 14 Feb. 2024 For some, romantic love seems more like a spiritual experience, and it cannot be explained by neuroscience. Stephanie Brown, Verywell Health, 14 Feb. 2024 Presumably, apart from one’s medical record, paramedical data, such as demographics, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation or spiritual practice, could all be essential information to a patient’s end-of-life preferences. Tal Patalon, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 For a church and a country looking to harness, and survive, the coming A.I. revolution, his job is to provide advice from an ethical and spiritual perspective. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 More than 500 people — engineers, entrepreneurs and designers; blockchain developers, digital marketers and spiritual gurus — for two weeks of intense discussions in Chinese and carefree partying. Christian Shepherd, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 His songs inspired a spiritual experience and his concerts functioned as a kind of communion. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 As an alternative to giving up an indulgence, McCarthy said one possibility might be to take on a new spiritual practice, such as meditation, doing a centering prayer or attending Bible study. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 Now a father of seven himself, including four children with his wife Orly, Ziggy says his family’s spiritual foundation is what keeps them close to Bob. Rachel Desantis, Peoplemag, 4 Feb. 2024
Noun
Gospel is an innovative and ever-evolving musicality born out of traditional spirituals, jazz and the blues that has been a continued throughline in the Black experience, especially in the Black Christian community. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 12 Feb. 2024 Parrish will sing a program of German and Russian lieder, a world premiere by Alistair Coleman, and a selection of spirituals that welcome Michele Fowlin’s Children of the Gospel Choir to the stage. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 None is more electrifying than a traditional spiritual about the prodigal son, which Oglesby uses to net her first theatrical role. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, 29 Jan. 2024 Such a definition, in both a spiritual and a historical sense, is ludicrous. Thomas S. Kidd, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2024 That history is of course full of horrors, not the golden past portrayed in works about the gracious days of juleps and spirituals. Jesse Green, New York Times, 18 Dec. 2023 Anchored by ethereal strings and the driving melodies of Negro spirituals, Fantasia croons lyrics that beautifully capture the arc and triumph of both Celie and herself. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 18 Dec. 2023 Tamar-kali’s score — which draws on beatboxing, body percussion, Hebrew worship music, and African American spirituals along with its operatic influences — feels busy and referential but also frequently monotonous, too full of reverence to find much lift or drive. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2023 Abels then orchestrated the score by Giddens, whose opera deftly draws from gospel, blues, spirituals, ragtime, Senegalese music, opera traditions and more. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spiritual.' 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

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near spiritual

Cite this Entry

“Spiritual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiritual. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

spiritual

1 of 2 adjective
spir·​i·​tu·​al ˈspir-ich-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce spiritual (audio)
-ich-əl
1
: of, relating to, or consisting of spirit : not bodily or material
2
: of or relating to sacred or religious matters
3
: related or joined in spirit
our spiritual home
spirituality
ˌspir-ich-ə-ˈwal-ət-ē
noun
spiritually
ˈspir-ich-(ə-)wəl-ē
-ich-əl-ē
adverb
spiritualness noun

spiritual

2 of 2 noun
: a religious song usually of a very emotional character that was developed especially among blacks in the southern U.S.

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