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

Harlan's other daughter, Joni (Toni Collette), is a lifestyle guru whose health, beauty and spiritual well-being empire sounds more than a little Goopy. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Knives Out': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 The Gauntlet, while sounding like a rigorous summer workout program, is a week-long event in Daytona Beach where 3,000 youths and another 1,000 staff members gather in two beachfront hotels for a spiritual escape. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "Saving Trevor: Why Clemson's QB Credits His Early College Success to a Leap in Faith," 5 Sep. 2019 Homeowners turn to the colorful cast of forensic specialists, spiritual healers and high-end renovation experts to uncover the true crimes, shocking secrets and scandalous history of their homes. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Murder House Flip Sounds Like Fixer Upper for True Crime Fans," 5 Sep. 2019 Her preoccupation with the spiritual has granted her access to a resource that none of the other candidates have. Kayla Bartsch, National Review, "Marianne Williamson Offers Priestly Wisdom for a Nation Adrift — Seriously," 12 Aug. 2019 Williamson, a spiritual adviser and author, told Politico. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Victimizes His Accusers—Again: The Broadsheet," 12 Aug. 2019 Those problems, we’re told, are spiritual and can’t be legislated away. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "GOP blames toxic popular culture, but not Trump, for violence," 7 Aug. 2019 In March, the court reversed itself and granted a Buddhist prisoner in Texas his request for his own spiritual adviser. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Conservative gains at Supreme Court leading to anger, frustration and 'peeks behind the curtain'," 9 June 2019 Still, no one was prepared for the spiritual journey Rose would give attendees at the final installment of The Broad’s Black Fire Sessions, which celebrates their Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 exhibit. Brad Wete, Billboard, "Jimetta Rose and More Bring Soul to The Broad Museum's Black Fire Sessions Finale," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Meacham and McGraw move as gingerly through the spirituals of the Civil War years as two white men might be expected to. Allison Stewart, chicagotribune.com, "Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw: How American music became both a reflection and an instrument of social change," 11 July 2019 Meacham and McGraw move as gingerly through the spirituals of the Civil War years as two white men might be expected to. Allison Stewart, Washington Post, "How American music became both a reflection and an instrument of social change," 10 July 2019 DuPont will present a recital of art songs, spirituals and gospels by both female and male black composers on June 26. Elizabeth Nonemaker, baltimoresun.com, "Festival Baltimore celebrates the County’s 'world-class' concert hall," 13 June 2019 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

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

11 Sep 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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