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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her originaI compositions are hauntingly spiritual, vulnerable, and just wondrously beautiful. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Drummer and composer Bill Harris on a Chicago iconoclast who can make an album feel like an epic film," 13 June 2018 The commodification of wellness — of good spiritual, physical and mental health — has limits of who can have access to it because of its costs. Tasnim Ahmed, Allure, "I Bought Into the Commercialized Wellness Industry and It Left Me Broke (and Unwell)," 9 Aug. 2018 Speculation holds that the drawings are likely spiritual or religious in nature, perhaps created by shamans, who kept the meanings secret. Diane Bell, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Discovery of hidden drawings puts Poway Native American art in a class of its own," 9 July 2018 For Bragg to be named one of Hill's spiritual successors by an anarchist anti-war protester as prominent as Hoffman was no small honor—and to actually imbibe his ashes was akin to taking Wobbly communion. Kim Kelly, Chicago Reader, "The protest songs that drove the Wobblies a century ago are still lighting fires," 26 Apr. 2018 Of course, eco-mindedness lies at the core of all indigenous design; many designers approach their relationship with materials from a more spiritual level and make sure to minimize waste throughout the construction process. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "How These Shapely Statement Earrings Celebrate Coast Salish Culture," 13 Mar. 2019 Bhakti, or devotion, is a spiritual path that uses music, dance, poetry, literature and such rituals as bathing, dressing and garlanding statues believed to house deities. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "‘Seeing the Divine: Pahari Painting of North India’ Review: Multifaceted Devotion," 16 Feb. 2019 People attending Wednesday’s service at the Agape International Spiritual Center meditated before the church’s founder and spiritual director, Michael Beckwith, introduced Chiang. Michael Livingston, latimes.com, "John Chiang, campaigning in church, says faith helped his family overcome struggles," 31 May 2018 So, for me, the solution has been having a spiritual director and having mentors who really believe in me. NBC News, "Ashley Judd: How to heal the loneliness that comes with having a big, courageous voice," 23 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about spiritual

Statistics for spiritual

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spiritual

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on spiritual

What made you want to look up spiritual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!