- the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
- the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
- the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
- conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter: the world of spirit.
- a supernatural, incorporeal being, especially one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character: evil spirits.
- a fairy, sprite, or elf.
- an angel or demon.
- an attitude or principle that inspires, animates, or pervades thought, feeling, or action: the spirit of reform.
- (initial capital letter) the divine influence as an agency working in the human heart.
- a divine, inspiring, or animating being or influence. Num. 11:25; Is. 32:15.
- (initial capital letter) the third person of the Trinity; Holy Spirit.
- the soul or heart as the seat of feelings or sentiments, or as prompting to action: a man of broken spirit.
- spirits, feelings or mood with regard to exaltation or depression: low spirits; good spirits.
- excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigor, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That's the spirit!
- temper or disposition: meek in spirit.
- an individual as characterized by a given attitude, disposition, character, action, etc.: A few brave spirits remained to face the danger.
- the dominant tendency or character of anything: the spirit of the age.
- vigorous sense of membership in a group: college spirit.
- the general meaning or intent of a statement, document, etc. (opposed to letter): the spirit of the law.
- Chemistry. the essence or active principle of a substance as extracted in liquid form, especially by distillation.
- Often spirits. a strong distilled alcoholic liquor.
- Chiefly British. alcohol.
- Pharmacology. a solution in alcohol of an essential or volatile principle; essence(def 3).
- any of certain subtle fluids formerly supposed to permeate the body.
- the Spirit, God
- pertaining to something that works by burning alcoholic spirits: a spirit stove.
- of or relating to spiritualist bodies or activities.
- to animate with fresh ardor or courage; inspirit.
- to encourage; urge on or stir up, as to action.
- to carry off mysteriously or secretly (often followed by away or off): His captors spirited him away.
- out of spirits, in low spirits; depressed: We were feeling out of spirits after so many days of rain.
Origin of spirit
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for spirit
Education controls the transmission of values and molds the spirit before dominating the soul.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President
January 9, 2015
Their authors promise that your spirit will be improved, your ambition honed, and your finances maximized by their advice.Can Self-Help Books Really Make a New You?
December 29, 2014
The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple.Yep, Korra and Asami Went in the Spirit Portal and Probably Kissed
December 25, 2014
The Speyside distillery is famous for taking only the finest cut of spirit for its whisky.The Restaurant, Flask, And Photography Worthy of The Macallan Whisky
December 16, 2014
But he clearly understands the spirit of the season and describes it pretty much the same way as my wife.Keep Christmas Commercialized!
P. J. O’Rourke
December 6, 2014
Wonderful are the accounts he brings of that far-off world, where his spirit wanders.
Aspasia said wisely, that the spirit of beauty flows in, only where the proportions are harmonious.
The spirit and the gifts of freedom ill assort with the condition of a slave.
"That contains the spirit of all prayer," said the old philosopher.
The spirit of the strong man was moved, and he trembled like a leaf shaken by the wind.
- the force or principle of life that animates the body of living things
- temperament or dispositiontruculent in spirit
- liveliness; mettlethey set to it with spirit
- the fundamental, emotional, and activating principle of a person; willthe experience broke his spirit
- a sense of loyalty or dedicationteam spirit
- the prevailing element; feelinga spirit of joy pervaded the atmosphere
- state of mind or mood; attitudehe did it in the wrong spirit
- (plural) an emotional state, esp with regard to exaltation or dejectionin high spirits
- a person characterized by some activity, quality, or dispositiona leading spirit of the movement
- the deeper more significant meaning as opposed to a pedantic interpretationthe spirit of the law
- that which constitutes a person's intangible being as contrasted with his physical presenceI shall be with you in spirit
- an incorporeal being, esp the soul of a dead person
- (as modifier)spirit world
- (usually foll by away or off) to carry off mysteriously or secretly
- (often foll by up) to impart animation or determination to
- (often plural) any distilled alcoholic liquor such as brandy, rum, whisky, or gin
- an aqueous solution of ethanol, esp one obtained by distillation
- the active principle or essence of a substance, extracted as a liquid, esp by distillation
- a solution of a volatile substance, esp a volatile oil, in alcohol
- (as modifier)a spirit burner
- alchemy any of the four substances sulphur, mercury, sal ammoniac, or arsenic
- another name for the Holy Spirit
- God, esp when regarded as transcending material limitations
- the influence of God or divine things upon the soul
- Christian Science God or divine substance
Word Origin and History for spirit
mid-13c., "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from Old French espirit, from Latin spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe," from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (cf. Old Church Slavonic pisto "to play on the flute").
Original usage in English mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the Latin word translates Greek pneuma and Hebrew ruah. Distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (e.g. Greek psykhe vs. pneuma, Latin anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods" [Buck]. Latin spiritus, usually in classical Latin "breath," replaces animus in the sense "spirit" in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Greek pneuma.
Meaning "supernatural being" is attested from c.1300 (see ghost); that of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological sense, e.g. Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1690, common after 1800. Plural form spirits "volatile substance" is an alchemical idea, first attested 1610; sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by 1670s. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768).
1590s, "to make more active or energetic" (of blood, alcohol, etc.), from spirit (n.). The meaning "carry off or away secretly" (as though by supernatural agency) is first recorded 1660s.
- spirits An alcohol solution of an essential or volatile substance.
- spirits An alcoholic beverage, especially distilled liquor.
- A liquid that has been distilled.