• synonyms


[noo-muh, nyoo-]
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  1. the vital spirit; the soul.
  2. Theology. the Spirit of God; the Holy Ghost.
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Origin of pneuma

1875–80; < Greek pneûma literally, breath, wind, akin to pneîn to blow, breathe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pneuma

Historical Examples

  • This pneuma was equivalent to both soul and life, but it was something more.

    The Legacy of Greece


  • Another necessity for the support of life is the pneuma which circulates in the vessels.

  • The pneuma, or spirit, was in their opinion the cause of health and of disease.

  • Apparently Galen refers to the pneuma and the various humours.

  • Apparently the common Greek materialistic use of "pneuma" to indicate "breath" or "wind" or the like is here followed.

British Dictionary definitions for pneuma


  1. philosophy a person's vital spirit, soul, or creative energyCompare psyche
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Word Origin

C19: from Greek: breath, spirit, wind; related to pnein to blow, breathe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pneuma


used in English in various sense, from Greek pneuma "a blowing, a wind, blast; breeze; influence; breathed air, breath; odor, scent; spirit of a person; inspiration, a spirit, ghost," from pnein "to blow, to breathe," from PIE root *pneu- "to breathe," of imitative origin (cf. Greek pnoe "breath," pnoia "breathing;" Old English fnora "sneezing," fnæran "to snort").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper