having or showing mettle, courage, vigor, liveliness, etc.: a spirited defense of poetry.

Origin of spirited

First recorded in 1590–1600; spirit + -ed3
Related formsspir·it·ed·ly, adverbspir·it·ed·ness, nounnon·spir·it·ed, adjectivenon·spir·it·ed·ly, adverbnon·spir·it·ed·ness, nounqua·si-spir·it·ed, adjectivequa·si-spir·it·ed·ly, adverbun·spir·it·ed, adjectiveun·spir·it·ed·ly, adverb
Can be confusedspirited spiritual spiritualistic

Synonyms for spirited




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.

verb (used with object)

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.

Origin of spirit

1200–50; Middle English (noun) < Latin spīritus orig., a breathing, equivalent to spīri-, combining form representing spīrāre to breathe + -tus suffix of v. action
Related formsspir·it·like, adjectivenon·spir·it, nounout·spir·it, verb (used with object)un·spir·it·ing, adjective
Can be confusedspirit sprite

Synonyms for spirit

2. life, mind, consciousness, essence. 5. apparition, phantom, shade. See ghost. 6. goblin, hobgoblin. 7. genius. 14. enthusiasm, energy, zeal, ardor, fire, enterprise. 15. attitude, mood, humor. 17. nature, drift, tenor, gist, essence, sense, complexion. 19. intention, significance, purport.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spirited

Contemporary Examples of spirited

Historical Examples of spirited

  • Strathay has really gone, spirited away by that superior cousin.

  • For Fanny (but I did not tell him this) is much too spirited and clever to suit him.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The colour of the spirited chargers of these challengers was snow white.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • The prince was, however, just the man to be the centre of a spirited opposition.

  • But are not these spirited natures apt to be savage with one another, and with everybody else?

British Dictionary definitions for spirited



displaying animation, vigour, or liveliness
(in combination) characterized by mood, temper, or disposition as specifiedhigh-spirited; public-spirited
Derived Formsspiritedly, adverbspiritedness, noun


noun the Spirit

  1. another name for the Holy Spirit
  2. God, esp when regarded as transcending material limitations
the influence of God or divine things upon the soul
Christian Science God or divine substance




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
  1. an incorporeal being, esp the soul of a dead person
  2. (as modifier)spirit world

verb (tr)

(usually foll by away or off) to carry off mysteriously or secretly
(often foll by up) to impart animation or determination to

Word Origin for spirit

C13: from Old French esperit, from Latin spīritus breath, spirit; related to spīrāre to breathe




(often plural) any distilled alcoholic liquor such as brandy, rum, whisky, or gin
  1. an aqueous solution of ethanol, esp one obtained by distillation
  2. the active principle or essence of a substance, extracted as a liquid, esp by distillation
  1. a solution of a volatile substance, esp a volatile oil, in alcohol
  2. (as modifier)a spirit burner
alchemy any of the four substances sulphur, mercury, sal ammoniac, or arsenic

Word Origin for spirit

C14: special use of spirit 1, name applied to alchemical substances (as in sense 4), hence extended to distilled liquids
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 spirited

"lively, energetic," 1590s, from spirit (n.).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spirited in Medicine




spirits An alcohol solution of an essential or volatile substance.
spirits An alcoholic beverage, especially distilled liquor.
A liquid that has been distilled.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with spirited


In addition to the idioms beginning with spirit

  • spirit away
  • spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, the

also see:

  • kindred spirit
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.