[spir-i-choo-uh l]
See more synonyms for spiritual on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal.
  2. of or relating to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.
  3. closely akin in interests, attitude, outlook, etc.: the professor's spiritual heir in linguistics.
  4. of or relating to spirits or to spiritualists; supernatural or spiritualistic.
  5. characterized by or suggesting predominance of the spirit; ethereal or delicately refined: She is more of a spiritual type than her rowdy brother.
  6. of or relating to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.
  7. of or relating to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.
  8. of or belonging to the church; ecclesiastical: lords spiritual and temporal.
  9. of or relating to the mind or intellect.
  1. a spiritual or religious song: authentic folk spirituals.
  2. spirituals, affairs of the church.
  3. a spiritual thing or matter.

Origin of spiritual

1275–1325; Middle English < Medieval Latin spīrituālis, equivalent to Latin spīritu- (stem of spīritus spirit) + -ālis -al1
Related formsspir·it·u·al·ly, adverbspir·it·u·al·ness, nounan·ti·spir·it·u·al, adjectivean·ti·spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbnon·spir·it·u·al, adjective, nounnon·spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbnon·spir·it·u·al·ness, nounpseu·do·spir·i·tu·al, adjectivepseu·do·spir·i·tu·al·ly, adverbqua·si-spir·it·u·al, adjectivequa·si-spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbsu·per·spir·it·u·al, adjectivesu·per·spir·it·u·al·ly, adverbun·spir·i·tu·al, adjectiveun·spir·i·tu·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedspirited spiritual spiritualistic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spiritual

Contemporary Examples of spiritual

Historical Examples of spiritual

  • As far as crowd-sympathy has any spiritual value it was there.

  • We are less scornful of spiritual power than we were even a few years ago.

  • As a matter of fact, we dig a gulf between the material and the spiritual which does not exist.

  • As to the spiritual there could be a question; as to the material there could be none.

  • Matter may really be considered as our sensuous misreading of the spiritual.

British Dictionary definitions for spiritual


  1. relating to the spirit or soul and not to physical nature or matter; intangible
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of sacred things, the Church, religion, etc
  3. standing in a relationship based on communication between the souls or minds of the persons involveda spiritual father
  4. having a mind or emotions of a high and delicately refined quality
  1. See Negro spiritual
  2. (often plural) the sphere of religious, spiritual, or ecclesiastical matters, or such matters in themselves
  3. the spiritual the realm of spirits
Derived Formsspiritually, adverbspiritualness, noun
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 spiritual

"of or concerning the spirit" (especially in religious aspects), c.1300, from Old French spirituel (12c.), from Latin spiritualis, from spiritus "of breathing, of the spirit" (see spirit (n.)). Meaning "of or concerning the church" is attested from mid-14c. The noun sense of "African-American religious song" first recorded 1866.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper