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

Another popular view holds that Mr Trump’s rude and rumbustious character is really a merit in a time of great geopolitical and spiritual danger. The Economist, "When American evangelicals fall out," 5 July 2019 But even as niche groups have come and gone, the community of wellness users — people committed to psychedelics for physical, emotional or spiritual well-being — has remained. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "Can psychedelics heal? A growing movement says yes," 28 June 2019 The fact that a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India is now a multibillion-dollar industry around the globe has not escaped the current government’s attention. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Downward Dog on a submarine: the best images from India’s global celebration of yoga," 21 June 2019 One of the most interesting photos is of a tired-looking street in which a hardware store sits next to a church called The House of Prayer, juxtaposing mundane and spiritual needs being met. Mike Giuliano, baltimoresun.com, "Diverse photographic landscapes at Howard Community College," 20 June 2019 Other volunteer activities include emotional and spiritual support, practical help such as running errands, sharing music, art and companionship. Sergio Carmona, sun-sentinel.com, "MorseLife’s hospice and palliative care looking for volunteers," 18 June 2019 In the 1970s, Zeffirelli's focus shifted from the romantic to the spiritual. Colleen Barry, chicagotribune.com, "Famed Italian director Franco Zeffirelli dies at age 96," 15 June 2019 In the 1970s, Zeffirelli's focus shifted from the romantic to the spiritual. NBC News, "'Romeo and Juliet' director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96," 15 June 2019 Founded in the eighth century, Fez is Morocco’s oldest imperial city and its cultural and spiritual heart. National Geographic, "Africa by Private Jet," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Blues, jazz, spirituals, jitterbug and Rogers & Hammerstein. Alan Goch, sun-sentinel.com, "Palm Beach central and north county events for July 10-16," 10 July 2019 Still, the setting occasions some lovely period fight songs and spirituals sung by the cast, plus one noxious cigar wielded by a superior officer. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: A Civil War ‘Othello’ rages at Livermore Shakespeare Fest," 9 July 2019 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

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

17 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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