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 Church is a great place to connect with people, but the primary connection should be spiritual or communal. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Shy guy wonders how to break the ice in supermarket aisles," 18 Mar. 2020 Here, the atmosphere is highly spiritual; gentle music carries up from the colorful village of Delwara to the intimate guest rooms. Vasudha Rai, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Wellness Retreat Where Indian A-Listers Hide Out," 6 Feb. 2020 Brown continued to work as a priest and helped lead conferences and spiritual retreats for adults in Michigan and other states. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Lawsuit says Dallas diocese did not protect young girl from priest’s abuse," 1 Feb. 2020 As an engineer officer, nothing is more sacred than defensive warfare—and this was well-nigh spiritual. Angry Staff Officer, Wired, "The Mandalorian Is the Only Smart Soldier in the Star Wars Galaxy," 14 Jan. 2020 Seven people on a spiritual retreat were sleeping when the blaze broke out in at the mosque in Escondido, prosecutors say. CBS News, "Poway synagogue shooting suspect ordered to stand trial after 911 call played in court," 20 Sep. 2019 Earnest also is charged with trying to burn down a mosque weeks earlier in nearby Escondido, where seven people on a spiritual retreat were sleeping. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge orders trial in Southern California synagogue shooting," 20 Sep. 2019 Feed the Hunger is a Christian mission organization that helps people in spiritual and physical need. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "THIS WEEK: Council expected to approve painting mural on water tower," 23 Feb. 2020 The new blurring of the divide between spiritual and temporal realms owes much to the rise of evangelical Protestantism. The Economist, "Bello Latin America’s new war of religion," 6 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Many of Seeger’s recordings were his versions of folk standards, union songs, spirituals and discoveries from all over the world—usually on banjo, but sometimes on guitar. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, "Grammy Nod to Folkways’ Pete Seeger Collection Is a Fitting Tribute," 13 Feb. 2020 Unlike his sinister character, who cons his wife out of thousands of dollars and almost ruins her life, Brooks is a spiritual and grounded individual who is manifesting success in every way. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Eye Candy: 13 Sexy Photos Of 'A Fall From Grace' Star Mehcad Brooks We're Obsessing Over," 28 Jan. 2020 Learn more about Anderson, whose four-decade career included sold-out international tours and celebrated recordings of operas and spirituals, at a day-long celebration in the Kogod Courtyard. Washington Post, "16 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend," 5 Dec. 2019 Later, more sparks fly when the two argue over whether African-American spirituals functioned as coded maps to freedom for slaves. BostonGlobe.com, "CHOIR BOY," 18 Sep. 2019 Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio, in 1931, the daughter of a welder and a homemaker who encouraged her to read literature and taught her folktales and spirituals at home. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Remembering the Peerless Toni Morrison," 6 Aug. 2019 As the night’s conductor of spirituals, Solange made self-sabotage and pain sound so bittersweet. Adelle Platon, Billboard, "Camp Flog Gnaw 2019: Tyler, The Creator Celebrates Year 8 While Solange, Juice WRLD Light Up Day 1," 10 Nov. 2019

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

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spiritual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiritual. Accessed 1 Apr. 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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