spiritual

adjective
spir·​i·​tu·​al | \ ˈspir-i-chə-wəl , -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

And without that explanation, activists, doctors and supporters could only hope to heal the physical, psychological and spiritual wounds of rape. Laura Seay, Washington Post, "How rape is weaponized in civil wars," 29 June 2018 People across the globe have adopted the ancient practice for its physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Kamakshi Ayyar, Time, "What India's Traditional Yoga Teachers Want You to Know for the International Day of Yoga," 20 June 2018 The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. Rachel Paige King, Longreads, "Is Your Job Lynchian, or Is It More Kafkaesque?," 26 Apr. 2018 In certain spiritual practices, you're asked to wash your head in a mixture of organic goat's milk and coconut milk beforehand. Bri Luna, Glamour, "I'm a Real Witch, and I Spend $7,855 a Year on My Beauty Rituals," 31 Oct. 2018 Their historical spiritual home is the Long Branch Baptist Church on Peach Orchard Road. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Tracing the Roots of South Carolina’s ‘Turks,’ Before They Melt Away," 5 July 2018 The 1966 edition of the World Cup offered a helter-skelter final at Wembley, the spiritual home of football. Gianluca Costantini, CNN, "From headbutts to the 'Hand of God': 11 moments that shook the World Cup," 7 June 2018 In addition to royal weddings and interments, the chapel is the spiritual home to the Order of the Garter, the senior order of British Chivalry established in 1348 by Edward III. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Royal wedding: Inside the chapel where Prince Harry, Meghan Markle will say 'I do'," 9 May 2018 In April 2017, a fire gutted the Mainstage Theatre, the working and spiritual home of UWM theater students like Olson, Maureen O'Hara and Peter de Guzman. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After theater fire, UWM students prove the show must go on," 25 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.

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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

13 Feb 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 \

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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